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The Nation's Report Card: 
U.S. States in a Global Context:
Results From the 2011 NAEP-TIMSS Linking Study

October 2013

Author: National Center for Education Statistics

Download The Nation's Report Card: U.S. States in a Global Context: Results From the 2011 NAEP-TIMSS Linking Study PDF File (6.8 MB)


Cover image of The Nation's Report Card: U.S. States in a Global Context: Results from the 2011 NAEP-TIMSS Linking Study report.What Is the NAEP-TIMSS
Linking Study?

NCES initiated this special study in an effort to link the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scale to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) scale so that states could compare the performance of their students with that of students in other countries. The study was conducted in 2011 with eighth-grade students in all 52 states/jurisdictions that participated in the NAEP mathematics and science assessments. This highlights report presents results of the linking study.

How do U.S. students compare internationally?

Mathematics

Science

Educators and policymakers throughout the United States continue to debate the international competitiveness of their students. The ability of the United States to thrive in the growing global economy is influenced by how well our students compete internationally. Results from 2011 TIMSS1 (Foy, Martin, and Mullis 2012) indicate how the performance of eighth-grade students in the United States as a whole compares with that of students in the other countries and subnational education systems that participated in the TIMSS assessment; it does not, however, provide results for individual U.S. states. NCES conducted the NAEP-TIMSS linking study to provide each state with a way to examine how their students compare academically with their peers around the world in mathematics and science.

NCES coordinated efforts across the NAEP and TIMSS assessment programs to conduct the 2011 NAEP-TIMSS linking study. The National Assessment Governing Board and NCES modified the NAEP assessment schedule so that eighth-graders in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools (hereafter referred to as “states” or U.S. states) could be assessed in mathematics and science in 2011.

The NAEP-TIMSS linking study used states’ NAEP scores to predict performance on TIMSS. Nine states participated in 2011 TIMSS at the state level. In the linking study, their actual TIMSS scores were used to validate their predicted results.

The 38 countries and 9 subnational education systems from various countries that assessed eighth-graders in 2011 TIMSS are all referred to as “education systems” in this report. In tables and figures, seven of the subnational education systems are further identified by their nation’s three-letter international abbreviation (e.g., Alberta-CAN and Dubai-UAE). Results in mathematics and science are reported as average scores on the TIMSS scale (0–1,000, with an average of 500).

Linking Study Results

Mathematics

  • Average scores for public school students in 36 states were higher than the TIMSS average of 500.
  • Scores ranged from 466 for Alabama to 561 for Massachusetts.
  • Massachusetts scored higher than 42 of the 47 participating education systems.
  • Alabama scored higher than 19 education systems.
Science
  • Average scores for public school students in 47 states were higher than the TIMSS average of 500.
  • Scores ranged from 453 for the District of Columbia to 567 for Massachusetts.
  • Massachusetts and Vermont scored higher than 43 participating education systems.
  • The District of Columbia scored higher than 14 education systems.

It should be noted that numerous differences between the NAEP and TIMSS administrations, assessment contents, and program policies could contribute to the sources of error around predicted TIMSS scores. Therefore, predicted TIMSS scores should not be interpreted as actual TIMSS scores.

1 Foy, P., Martin, M.O., and Mullis, I.V.S. (2012). TIMSS 2011 International Results in Mathematics and TIMSS 2011 International Results in Science. Chestnut Hill, MA: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), TIMSS and PIRLS International Study Center, Lynch School of Education, Boston College.

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Mathematics

Compared to the TIMSS average of 500, average scores for

Image of an upward pointing arrow icon.  36 states were higher

Image of an equal sign icon.  10 states were not significantly different

Image of a downward pointing arrow icon.  6 states were lower

Image of a U.S. map showing NAEP-TIMSS mathematics state results.

1 Validation state.
2 Department of Defense Education Activity (overseas and domestic schools).
NOTE: Validation states are those U.S. states that participated in the 2011 TIMSS assessment at the state level. Results for validation states are based on actual results from the TIMSS mathematics assessment, while results for the other states are predicted results. The results for all states include public schools only. Among the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense schools, average scores for 6 states/jurisdiction were lower than the TIMSS average of 500 (AL, DC, MS, OK, TN, and WV); scores for 10 states were not significantly different from the TIMSS average (AZ, CA, GA, HI, KY, LA, MI, NM, NV, and SC); and scores for the other 36 states/jurisdiction were higher than the TIMSS average.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2011 Mathematics Assessment; and International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), 2011.

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Science

Compared to the TIMSS average of 500, average scores for

Image of an upward pointing arrow icon.  47 states were higher

Image of an equal sign icon.  2 states were not significantly different

Image of a downward pointing arrow icon.  3 states were lower


Image of a U.S. map showing NAEP-TIMSS science state results.

1 Validation state.
2 Department of Defense Education Activity (overseas and domestic schools).
NOTE: Validation states are those U.S. states that participated in the 2011 TIMSS assessment at the state level. Results for validation states are based on actual results from the TIMSS science assessment, while results for the other states are predicted results. The results for all states include public schools only. Among the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense schools, average scores for 3 states/jurisdiction were lower than the TIMSS average of 500 (AL, DC, and MS); scores for 2 states were not significantly different from the TIMSS average (AZ and CA); and scores for the other 47 states/jurisdiction were higher than the TIMSS average.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2011 Science Assessment; and International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), 2011.

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Download The Nation's Report Card: U.S. States in a Global Context: Results From the 2011 NAEP-TIMSS Linking Study  PDF File (6.8 MB)

NCES 2013-460  Ordering information

Suggested Citation
National Center for Education Statistics (2013). The Nation's Report Card: U.S. States in a Global Context: Results From the 2011 NAEP-TIMSS Linking Study  (NCES 2013–460). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

For more information, see the results of the NAEP-TIMSS assessments.

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Last updated 27 September 2013 (RH)
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