The TIMSS 2015 mathematics and science assessments are based on the TIMSS 2015 Assessment Frameworks and were developed collaboratively with the participating countries, involving input from experts in education, mathematics, science, and measurement.
The TIMSS 2015 assessments contain 879 assessment items, 458 of which were carried forward from the previous assessment cycle to measure trends. For the 2015 cycle, 142 items were newly developed for the fourth grade assessments and 177 items for the eighth grade assessments. Additionally, 102 items were developed for TIMSS Numeracy, a fourth grade mathematics assessment introduced in 2015 to assess fundamental mathematics knowledge, procedures, and problem-solving strategies for students that were likely to find TIMSS 2015 at the fourth grade too difficult. The TIMSS assessments primarily use two item formats: multiple-choice and constructed response. At least half of the total number of points represented by all the items come from multiple-choice items. In developing assessment items, the choice of item format depends on the mathematics or science being assessed, and the format that best enables students to demonstrate their proficiency.
To facilitate the process of creating the student achievement test booklets, TIMSS assessment items are grouped into a series of item blocks, with approximately 10–14 items in each block at the fourth grade and 12–18 at the eighth grade. TIMSS 2015 had a total of 28 blocks assigned to 14 different achievement booklets at each grade level. TIMSS Numeracy had a total of 10 blocks of items, 2 of which were the same as fourth grade mathematics blocks, assigned to 5 different booklets.
The TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center develops the TIMSS assessment instruments in English. In cooperation with the IEA Secretariat, an Arabic source version also was produced for TIMSS 2015. The TIMSS 2015 assessment instruments were translated into 43 different languages by the participating countries around the world. To ensure that the assessment instruments were internationally comparable and at the same time appropriately adapted for the national context of the participating countries, all translated assessment instruments underwent a rigorous review by linguistic and assessment experts.
According to the TIMSS 2015 design, 16 of the 28 item blocks at each grade level and 8 of the 10 TIMSS Numeracy blocks are kept secure for use in the TIMSS 2019 assessments. Keeping this substantial proportion of the items secured is critical to safeguarding the measurement of trends in 2019. TIMSS 2015 items that are not secured to be used for the next assessment cycle may be available upon request for restricted use. To request access and permission to use the TIMSS 2015 Restricted Use Items, please fill out the IEA’s permission request form and contact the IEA Secretariat.
The TIMSS 2015 Restricted Use Items are provided along with the following item documentation abut each item: ID number, item block and sequence number, content and cognitive domain, the correct answer key and distracter rationale for multiple-choice items, and the scoring guide for constructed response items.
A number of documents related to the achievement items are available for download below. These same documents are presented in Methods and Procedures in TIMSS 2015 and/or are available for download with the TIMSS 2015 International Database. These include summary information on the TIMSS 2015 assessment items, the IRT item parameters estimated for all assessment items from the item calibrations, and percent correct statistics for all of the TIMSS 2015 assessment items.
More information on the TIMSS 2015 instrument development, sampling, data collection procedures, and reporting can be found in Methods and Procedures in TIMSS 2015.
Some TIMSS 2015 materials are available in Portable Document Format (PDF). If needed, download Adobe Reader© to read and print these materials.
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SOURCE: TIMSS 2015 Assessment Frameworks. Copyright © 2013 International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). Publisher: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Lynch School of Education, Boston College.
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