PIRLS and TIMSS 2011 in Northern Ireland: Reading, Mathematics and Science

Liz Twist, Juliet Sizmur, Linda Sturman, Bethan Burge, Rose Cook, Harriet Weaving, Shelley Bartlett, Laura Lynn

11 December 2012

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TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) is a worldwide research project, taking place every four years and providing data about trends in mathematics and science achievement over time. It assesses the knowledge and skills of pupils aged 9-10 (otherwise known as fourth grade) and 13-14 (eighth grade). It also enables researchers to collect extensive background information about the quantity, quality, and content of teaching, which can be used to make comparisons between participating countries. Findings from the survey are used to inform education policy and to improve teaching and learning in mathematics and science for pupils around the world.

PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) is an international comparative survey of reading attainment. Taking place every five years, PIRLS measures the reading achievement of pupils aged 9-10 ('fourth grade') and provides trend information about achievement in reading over time. Background information is collected from principals, teachers, parents/carers and pupils and this provides further comparative information about schools and the teaching of reading. Findings from the survey are used to inform education policy and teaching practices around the world.

TIMSS 2011 involved pupils in 63 countries around the world (60 participating at one or both of the target grades and three administering to older pupils). Fourth grade results were reported for 57 of those 60 participants and eighth grade for 56 of them. Of the 60 participants, 39 had results reported for both grades. Two UK nations participated in TIMSS 2011. In Northern Ireland, 136 primary schools participated. In England, 125 primary schools and 118 secondary schools participated.

PIRLS 2011 involved pupils in 49 countries around the world. At fourth grade there were 45 participating countries. One of these also participated at sixth grade. A further three countries participated only at sixth grade and one participated at fifth grade. Two UK nations participated in PIRLS 2011. In England, 129 primary schools participated and in Northern Ireland, 136 primary schools were involved.

NFER would like to thank these schools, their teachers and pupils for representing their country and helping to make PIRLS 2011 and TIMSS 2011 a success. The appendix to the national reports for Northern Ireland and England provide more information about the samples.

More information about TIMSS

More information about PIRLS

The national report for Northern Ireland

The national report for Northern Ireland combines outcomes from both PIRLS and TIMSS 2011, which were administered to the same pupils in Northern Ireland.

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