TIMSS 2019 in Northern Ireland: Mathematics and Science

Bethan Burge, Rachel Classick, Tara Paxman, David Thomas

08 December 2020

Executive Summary

The TIMSS 2019 survey, the sixth in the series, updates the picture of performance from 2015. In Northern Ireland pupils in Year 6 (ages 9-10) participated in the study.

Key Findings

  • Pupils in Northern Ireland continue to be amongst the best in the world at mathematics. Pupils in only five other countries significantly outperformed pupils in Northern Ireland.
  • Northern Ireland’s performance in mathematics has remained stable from 2011 to 2019, with no significant difference in the overall average score.
  • The average score for science was lower than for mathematics, although still above the TIMSS science International Average.
  • Whilst performance in science has remained stable since 2011, in 2019 fewer countries outperformed Northern Ireland.
  • There was no significant difference in the attainment of boys and girls for either mathematics or science. This equality of attainment has been maintained since Northern Ireland first took part in TIMSS in 2011.
  • In Northern Ireland there was a relatively wide spread of attainment for mathematics, whereas for science the difference between the scores of the highest and lowest attainers was smaller.
  • In Northern Ireland, and internationally, the pupils who most like mathematics and science also had higher average achievement scores than those who did not like the subjects.
  • There was good access to and use of digital resources at home and in schools for Y6 pupils in Northern Ireland compared to the average internationally.
  • Northern Ireland is one of the top ten countries with regard to the schools’ emphasis on academic success

Sponsor Details

Department of Education