TIMSS Test Design

Content Areas and Reporting Scales

TIMSS 1999 used a matrix sampling technique to achieve broad coverage – the total of 308 items were systematically distributed across 8 test booklets and the booklets were distributed randomly to students
Each student completed one 90-minute test booklet.
Altogether, there were 162 mathematics items and 146 science items
Approximately one-third of the items were constructed-response format, and the remaining items were multiple-choice
The 1999 design paralleled the 1995 design.

For the 1999 assessment, TIMSS will report achievement for mathematics and science overall, and for 11 content areas.

Mathematics   Science
Fractions and number sense
Data representation, analysis, and probability
Earth science
Life science
Scientific inquiry and the nature of science
Environmental and resource issues

For more detailed descriptions of the content areas, go to the TIMSS 1999 Content Areas page.

For more information about the TIMSS test design, explore the TIMSS 1999 Technical Report.

Released Item Sets

Download Math Items Download Science Items

Mathematics Items
Download PDF (4.6 MB)

Science Items
Download PDF (6.1 MB)

Data Almanac Files contain weighted summary statistics for each participating country on each cognitive item.

Download the Mathematics Item Almanac (PDF)

Download the Science Item Almanac (PDF)

Test Development

The TIMSS mathematics and science tests used in 1995 and 1999 were developed through a collaborative effort among the International Study Center, mathematics and science educators from around the world, and representatives from the participating countries.

About one-third of the items in the 1995 assessment were kept secure to measure trends over time; the remaining items were released for public use. In developing the 1999 tests, the 1995 items that were released to the public were replaced with items of similar content, format, and difficulty. The replacement items and scoring guides were developed with the assistance of the Science and Mathematics Item Replacement Committee, a group of internationally prominent mathematics and science educators from around the world. The items were piloted in 1998 in an extensive field test involving 31 countries, and were reviewed by the National Research Coordinators, who conducted within-country reviews with panels of mathematics and science educators and measurement experts.


Click here to return to the ISC homepage

TIMSS Repeat (1999) Logo
Instruments and Procedures
Assessing Mathematics and Science: The TIMSS Tests

Go to the TIMSS 1999 home page



Download Math Items
Released Mathematics Items
Download PDF (4.6 MB)

Download Science Items
Released Science Items
Download PDF (6.1 MB)

Details of the TIMSS 1999 Content Areas

Researching the factors associated with achievement: TIMSS 1999 Background Questionnaires
Measuring trends in mathematics and science achievement
Sampling schools and students