About TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center

Located at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development, IEA’s TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center conducts regular international comparative assessments of student achievement in mathematics and science (TIMSS) and in reading (PIRLS) in more than 60 countries. TIMSS (the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and PIRLS (the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) together comprise the core cycle of studies for IEA – the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. Headquartered in Amsterdam and with a major data processing and research center in Hamburg, IEA has been conducting international comparative studies of student achievement since 1959.

TIMSS and PIRLS enable participating countries to make evidence-based decisions for improving educational policy. Some of the ways governments and ministries use TIMSS and PIRLS results include:

  • Measuring the effectiveness of their educational systems in a global context
  • Identifying gaps in learning resources and opportunities
  • Pinpointing any areas of weakness and stimulating curriculum reform
  • Measuring the impact of new educational initiatives
  • Training researchers and teachers in assessment and evaluation

TIMSS and PIRLS also collect extensive data about the contextual factors that affect learning, including school resources, student attitudes, instructional practices, and support at home. This information can be examined in relation to achievement to explore factors that contribute to academic success.