Polish students are participating in the international TIMSS 2023 survey

Fourth-grade students from 150 primary schools will take part in the TIMSS 2023 international survey. On this occasion, we invite you to read PAP’s interview with Poland’s survey manager, Wioleta Dobosz-Leszczynska of the Educational Research Institute.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is a cyclical, international programme measuring mathematics and science achievement of students in primary school grades IV and VIII. The latest edition of the study is scheduled to be conducted this spring.

TIMSS is one of the largest educational achievement surveys in the world – next to PISA. The survey has been organized since 1995, and is conducted every four years. It is organized by the Amsterdam-based International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). Students from 58 countries around the world, a total of more than 300,000 fourth-graders from about 11,000 schools, took part in the last edition of the survey in 2019.

Poland first participated in the survey in 2011. It also took part in subsequent editions in 2015 and 2019. In Poland, fourth-grade students are surveyed. The Ministry of Education and Science commissioned the Educational Research Institute to conduct the survey.

How many schools and how many students will participate?

Wioleta Dobosz-Leszczyńska, TIMSS 2023 survey manager from IBE’s International Research Team: “TIMSS is a survey conducted on a representative random sample, which means that the conclusions about the measurement made in the survey can be generalized when following the rules of statistical inference to the population of fourth-graders in each country conducting the survey. 150 elementary schools from across Poland were randomly selected for the survey. More than 5,000 fourth-graders will participate in the survey.”

Which skills will be tested, how and why?

The TIMSS survey tests the level of knowledge and skills in two areas – mathematics and natural science. It also analyses how these skills are changing. The survey provides answers to question about the distribution of achievement in the surveyed population compared to other countries, as well as changes in achievement over the years. In addition to tasks relating to knowledge and skills in mathematics and science, problem-solving skills will also be tested.

Students will solve tasks prepared by international experts, and through the use of computers they will be able to use the digital tools available in the application, using them to prepare and answer questions. Among other things, the use of tasks in digital form allows students to focus on strategy and thinking (thanks to the ability to transfer some of the computational activities to the computer), and gives them the opportunity to verify problem-solving methods and strategies by monitoring the process of providing answers. The digital form also makes it possible to incorporate simulations of real-life and laboratory situations, where students can integrate skills and knowledge to perform an experiment, for example.

Providing reliable data, monitoring the effectiveness of education systems, and analysing the level of students’ achievement in skills that are essential in today’s world are among the main reasons for organising this kind of research. Skills in mathematics and science are crucial in many spheres – including those relating to engineering, architecture, accounting, medicine, ecology or economics, and are essential in everyday life. In turn, the ability to learn new skills and the ability to solve problems are among the main skills needed to function effectively in today’s world.

Will this year’s survey be different from previous ones?

In this latest edition of the TIMSS survey, fourth-grade students will be solving math and science tasks on computers for the first time. This is a breakthrough edition, as it is the first TIMSS survey in a fully digital version, meaning that all participating countries will use a digital version of the assignments in a specially prepared application.

When will the survey results be announced?

The announcement of the survey results is planned for November/December 2024. The presentation of the results is organised by the IEA, when the results obtained by students of all participating countries are made public worldwide at the same time.