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S’pore students come in 1st out of 57 countries in international math and science tests

These included the U.S., Scandinavian countries, Japan and South Korea.

Guan Zhen Tan | November 29, 2016 @ 05:00 pm

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The scores for the TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) test in 2015 were released on Tuesday (Nov. 29), and students in Singapore are world number 1 in both subjects.

Out of the 64 countries and benchmarks, Singapore scored the highest ranking for both Grade 4 (Primary 4) and 8 (Secondary 2) mathematics and science domains.

 

Previous results

In Singapore, the TIMSS test, conducted once every four years, is given to students in Primary 4 and Secondary 2, who are roughly equivalent to Grade 4 and Grade 8 respectively.

In 2011, we were first for Grade 4 mathematics, and second for Grade 8, behind Korea; for science, we came in second for Grade 4, behind Korea, and first for Grade 8.

In 2007, we were second for Grade 4 mathematics, behind Hong Kong, and third for Grade 8 maths, behind Korea and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan); We were first for Grade 4 and Grade 8 science.

The average scores our students attained are going up, too:

newstatsp4
Source : MOE
newstats1
Source : MOE

Now, at this point, you may be wondering if we “cheated” and sent our “best and brightest” students from the “top-tier” schools to sit for the test — actually, 6,500 Primary 4 and 6,100 secondary 2 students from all schools in Singapore were randomly selected across streams to take it. None were prepared beforehand in any way.

Some sample questions

Test questions range from “low”  benchmark questions, which tests basic math and science knowledge and skills like this:

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-11-34-18-pm
Source : IEA Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)

To more complex “high” and “advanced” benchmark questions, ones that require students to apply understanding and knowledge and explain their reasoning.

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-11-36-36-pm
Source : IEA Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)
screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-11-36-01-pm
Source : IEA Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)

Singapore has participated in TIMSS since its inception in 1995, 2015 being the sixth time our country has took part in the test.

Here’s a look at how the participating countries performed:

 

g4-screenshot
Source : Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. (Click image to see larger version)
g8-screenshot
Source : Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. (Click image to see larger version)

 

 

Top image via

Screenshots of statistics from the IEA Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)

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About Guan Zhen Tan

Guan Zhen literally cried thinking about how social distancing means she can't get hugs from friends for a while. She longs to sleep until it's back to a lovely afternoon in her childhood.

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