PISA-TIMSS Comparison

PISA-TIMSS Comparison


If PISA is publicly debated when released every three years, international survey TIMSS is less known of the general public; France had not been a part of it for 20 years.

People often have a reductive view of international surveys released under the form of rating lists, when these are actually very informational regarding students and the way they learn. These rating lists should be carefully taken into account, including their margin of error. For example, in PISA, OECD countries or not can have a very limited comparability because only 15-year-olds attending school are taken into account. However, depending on the country, 15-year-olds attending school can have various academic levels. It is then better, beyond this list and the national scoring of the country, to look at the details and try to understand their different dimensions.

Cnesco does not present last results that have been released by these surveys; it prefers describing their organization and analyzing the content of the tests students have to take.

To remember

  • France had not taken part in a TIMSS survey for over 20 years (1995)
  • PISA surveys focus on all students aged from 15 yers old and three months to 16 years old and two months. Every country can be a part of it, even when they are not members of the OECD; in 2015, the survey took 71 countries into account. TIMSS surveys focus on students who are enrolled in their fourth or eigth year into their country’s academic system when TIMSS Advanced focuses on students ending their secondary school with a scientific major. In 2015, 57 countries took part in TIMSS but only 9 for the end of secondary school level.
  • PISA assesses “litteracy” in sciences, mathematics and writing comprehension when TIMSS assesses what students know and what they can do in mathematics and sciences according to a given academic level. In curricular terms (aimed for and reached), TIMSS assesses the quality of training in mathematics and scientific topics.

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