Janet Downs's picture
According to the Government, English students have plummeted down international league tables. However, the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS), summarised by the NFER shows that in 2007 England was one of the top scoring countries globally, and the top scoring European country. The summary states:

“Grade 4 science (year 5)

• England’s score, 542, was one of the highest, and is statistically significantly higher than the
TIMSS scale average of 500.
• Only three countries, Singapore (587), Chinese Taipei (557), and Hong Kong (554) had scores
that were statistically significantly higher than England’s.

Grade 4 mathematics (year 5)

• England’s score, 541, was again very high, and significantly higher than in 2003.
• Only four countries outscored England: Hong Kong (607), Singapore (599), Chinese Taipei
(576), and Japan (568).

Grade 8 science (year 9)
• England’s score for grade 8 science, 542, was again one of the highest
Grade 8 mathematics (year 9)
• In grade 8 mathematics England’s score, 513, was high enough for only five countries to have
significantly higher levels of performance”

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin referred to the TIMSS survey on 5 July 2010 when she asked the Minister to “dispel the notion that it is the Government's policy to run down the achievements of teachers and children around this country at every opportunity? I would like to hear him say how proud he is of the achievements and our children around the country”

Lord Hill of Oareford did not refer to the study in his reply.

Baroness Morgan again referred to TIMSS on 24 November 2010 when she asked why these positive TIMSS statistics had been “airbrushed out of the Prime Minister’s introduction [to the White Paper]” Her question was not answered.

The Government distorts the OECD statistics to support its contention that our education system is failing so badly that it needs to introduce wholesale ‘reforms’. However, it refuses to acknowledge international data which shows education in England is a success. I think we need to know the reason why.
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Melissa Benn's picture
Thu, 27/01/2011 - 11:34

Excellent post, Janet. The TIMMS figures are never referred to by the doom and gloom merchants of the new educational right. Instead, they are desperate to prove that our system is failing in order to justify their new, increasingly chaotic, and deeply unfair, plans.

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