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54 minutes to test a nation

"Rather good at science but could do much better at maths" concludes a 26-country survey on English nine-year-olds. These findings are very close to the same study's findings on our 13-year-olds last November. David Budge reports

The TIMSS survey was organised by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. TIMSS in England was government-funded and conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research.

The TIMSS tests for nine-year-olds, which took 54 minutes to complete, were carried out in March 1995. In England, they involved 6,142 children in 134 schools. Their ages ranged from eight years seven months to 10 years six months.

The first report to emerge from the study last November compared 13-year-olds' performance in maths and science. Further reports to be published later this year will discuss the home, pupil and school background factors that contributed to the test results.

This week the authors of the English study explained that these additional reports will compare questionnaire responses from pupils, teachers and headteachers in England with those in eight other countries: the United States, Japan, Scotland, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Hungary.

"The aim will be to identify any factors or patterns of behaviour which might differentiate between high-scoring and low-scoring countries," they said.

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