ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota students perform well on international math, science assessment

A preliminary analysis of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) shows that Minnesota students are performing very well in math and science compared to students from other nations. The Minnesota Department of Education ...

A preliminary analysis of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) shows that Minnesota students are performing very well in math and science compared to students from other nations. The Minnesota Department of Education and SciMath Minnesota (SciMathMN) released TIMSS data recently that also indicates Minnesota students made significant improvements in 4th-grade math since 1995.

"We can be proud that Minnesota students performed well compared to students from many nations," Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said. "The results of this international assessment confirm that we must continue with our efforts to increase academic rigor for students and professional development for educators in math and science."

SciMathMN and Dr. Bill Schmidt, Michigan State University Distinguished Professor of education and statistics conducted an analysis of the TIMSS results. For this analysis, SciMathMN examined how Minnesota students performed in comparison to the nations which participated in TIMSS and compared Minnesota's results with the results from the last time state students participated in TIMSS in 1995. The preliminary analysis found that:

  • Minnesota's fourth-grade performance gain in math was among the largest of any of the 16 countries that participated in both the 1995 and 2007 TIMSS
  • In 2007 fourth-grade math, only four nations scored significantly higher than Minnesota; three were not significantly different than Minnesota. There were 29 nations that scored significantly lower than Minnesota
  • In 2007 eighth-grade math, five nations scored significantly higher than Minnesota; and 44 nations scored significantly lower than Minnesota
  • In 2007 science, very few countries outperformed Minnesota in fourth or eighth grade. Minnesota also significantly outperformed the U.S. in eighth-grade science
  • In both fourth- and eighth-grade science there was no significant change in how students performed in 2007 compared to 1995

TIMSS is the largest study of student math and science achievement around the world. There were over 60 TIMSS participants, including seven regional "benchmark" participants as states or provinces, including Minnesota. TIMSS was taken by a sample of Minnesota 4th-and eighth-graders in 2007.
Minnesota was only one of two states to participate in the test as a benchmark participant. This status allows state policymakers and educators to evaluate how Minnesota students are performing compared to students from other nations. The SciMathMN analysis does not include the other regional benchmark participants.

Minnesota students were able to participate in the TIMSS due to state and private funding. The Minnesota Business Partnership, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Minnesota High Tech Association were instrumental in building that private/public partnership.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Minnesota businesses actively supported participation in TIMSS because our competition is global and our talent pool is global," said Minnesota Business Partnership Executive Committee Member Bob Mitchell, president and CEO of GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services. "To be a global leader, we have to benchmark ourselves against the best in the world."

The Department of Education and SciMathMN will continue to analyze the TIMSS data to help identify strategies for improving math and science rigor and instruction in Minnesota schools. To view the analysis online, visit: http://education.state.mn.us/ .

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.