What is TIMSS?
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is an international study that takes place every four years and gathers data from over 60 countries, including Northern Ireland. The study looks at pupils’ mathematics and science skills in Year 6 in Northern Ireland. The results are used by our government and governments from around the world to improve their education systems.
How many schools are participating in TIMSS in Northern Ireland and what is involved?
Your child’s school is one of 150 schools in Northern Ireland that have been selected to participate and we are delighted to be involved. The study involves answering a range of questions on mathematics and science on a computer, as well as a short questionnaire. Your child doesn’t need to do anything to prepare and nor will it affect their results or progress in school. The TIMSS results include no data that could identify your child or their school, this is because it is the education system, not your child, that is being reviewed. We recommend pupils bring a book they can read if they finish early.
What information will be collected and why?
The purpose of the study is to gather data on children’s learning and development, in order to learn more about how best to support children. This information will contribute to future improvements in education policy and provision both in the UK and internationally. The Department of Education (DE) has commissioned Pearson UK and their partners at UCL to carry out the study in Northern Ireland. The privacy and data security of the young people and schools we work with is very important to us and no individual child, parent/guardian, teacher or school will be identified or identifiable in any reporting.
TIMSS uses a computer-based assessment to assess mathematics and science achievement at Year 6. This will help give our government an indication of progress in these subjects in comparison to other countries from around the world.
The questionnaire will ask pupils to provide contextual information, such as questions about their home life and interests in learning. All data from the study will be de-identified, and combined with responses from other pupils taking part in Northern Ireland and compared with results of pupils around the world. If there are any questions your child does not wish to answer they may leave them blank.
In addition, you will be asked to complete a short survey on your child's home learning environment, called the Early Learning Survey. Please follow the link below to view an example Early Learning questionnaire.
View an example of the Early Learning questionnaire (PDF)
Data privacy and how we use personal data.
Learn more about how your data will be used
What have we learnt from TIMSS?
If you have any queries on any aspect of the study, please do not hesitate to contact the TIMSS support team.