Science Benchmarking Report TIMSS 1999–Eighth Grade
Chapter 5 Contents
  Science Subjects Offered Up To and Including Eighth Grade



What TIMSS 1999 Countries Have Assessments And Exams in Science?




© 2001 International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)




CHAPTER 5:The Science Curriculum

What TIMSS 1999 Countries Have Assessments And Exams in Science?

Assessments and exams that are aligned with the intended curriculum provide a means for evaluating system- and student-level achievement. System-wide assessments are designed primarily to inform policy makers about matters such as national standards of achievement of the intended curriculum objectives, strengths and weaknesses in the curriculum or how it is being implemented, and whether educational achievement is improving or deteriorating. The primary purpose of national public examinations, while providing information of interest to national and regional policy makers, is to provide information for making decisions about individual students.

Exhibit 5.9 shows that almost two-thirds of the participating countries had national assessments in science, with almost half of those assessing all students and just over half sampling students. The number of grades tested ranged from two in England and the Philippines to six in Korea. Generally, the purpose of system-wide assessments was to provide feedback to government policy makers and the public, although some countries provided feedback to individual schools. For example, in England and Hungary information about individual students was used for course placement or guidance.

Using public examinations as a way to select students for university or academic tracks in secondary school can be an important motivating factor for student achievement (see Exhibit 5.10). Thirty-six countries reported having public examinations or awards, at one or more grades, that included testing achievement in science. Most countries held their examinations in the final year of schooling for certification and selection to higher education (often, university education). In about one-third of the countries, public examinations were also used for selection or course assignment (tracking) within secondary schools.

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TIMSS 1999 Benchmarking is a project of the International Study Center
Boston College, Lynch School of Education