NFER develops new science lesson plans for Northern Ireland primary schools based on TIMSS data

News release

Monday 22 October 2018

For the first time NFER analysis from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2015 (TIMSS) has been used to develop a series of new science lesson plans for primary schools in Northern Ireland.

The design of these lesson plans has been informed by the performance of Year 6 primary school pupils in Northern Ireland on the TIMSS 2015 science assessments. They cover areas from the science curriculum that pupils in Northern Ireland should be doing well in but the TIMSS data indicates these are areas in which pupils are not performing as well as expected.

Northern Ireland pupils took part in TIMSS 2015 which assesses how well pupils perform in maths and science and is conducted in a range of countries across the world every four years. TIMSS provides valuable comparative information about the relative strengths and weaknesses of participating countries’ education systems and can also be used to track changes in performance over time.

Pupils in Northern Ireland tended to score below the international average on TIMSS items assessing science content through scientific investigation and enquiry. The four lesson plans (on ecosystems and plants, electricity, evaporation and dissolving) are therefore based on topics that address areas of weakness andprovide good opportunities to incorporate a significant amount of practical and investigative work within the lessons. Each lesson is designed to have a strong practical and investigative element based around a meaningful real-life context.. 

TIMSS is delivered in Northern Ireland by NFER on behalf of the Department of Education. NFER delivered the 2011 and 2015 TIMSS cycles in Northern Ireland and is currently contacting schools to invite them to participate in TIMSS 2019.