Visit the Education Indicators for the White House Return to SSBR Home |

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2003 is the third comparison of mathematics and science achievement carried out since 1995. The first part of this indicator highlights initial findings on the performance of U.S. fourth- and eighth-grade students relative to their peers in other countries on the TIMSS assessment.

In 2003, U.S. fourth-grade students scored 518, on average, in mathematics, exceeding the international average of 495 (table 1). U.S. fourth-graders outperformed their peers in 13 of the other 24 participating countries, and performed lower than their peers in 11 countries.

Fourth-graders in the United States scored 536, on average, on the TIMSS science assessment, which was higher than the international average of 489 (table 2). Of the 24 other participating countries, fourth-graders in 16 countries demonstrated lower science scores, on average, than fourth-graders in the United States, while students in 3 countries outperformed their peers in the United States.

In 2003, U.S. eighth-graders scored 504, on average, in mathematics. This average score exceeded the international average as well as the average scores of their peers in 25 of the 44 other participating countries (not shown in tables). U.S. eighth-graders were outperformed by students in nine countries: five Asian countries (Chinese Tapei, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Korea, and Singapore) and four European countries (Belgium-Flemish, Estonia, Hungary, and the Netherlands).

In science, U.S. eighth-graders exceeded the international average and outperformed their peers in 32 of the 44 other participating countries (not shown in tables). U.S. eighth-graders performed lower, on average, than their peers in seven countries. Eighth-graders in the five Asian countries that outperformed U.S. eighth-graders in mathematics in 2003 also outperformed U.S. eighth-graders in science in 2003, with eighth-graders in Estonia and Hungary performing better than U.S. students in mathematics and science as well.

Both Black and Hispanic eighth-grade students in the United States demonstrated improvement in mathematics achievement between 1995 and 2003 (figure 1). Both Black and Hispanic eighth-grade students in the United States demonstrated improvement in their average science achievement between 1995 and 2003, and between 1999 and 2003 (figure 2).

*p <.05, denotes a significant difference from 2003 average score.

*p <.05, denotes a significant difference from 2003 average score.

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks