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In addition to the following questions about TIMSS, more FAQs about international assessments are available at: http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/international/faqs.asp.

If the makeup of the countries changes across the years, how can one compare countries to the TIMSS scale average?

Achievement results from TIMSS are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000, with a TIMSS scale average of 500 and standard deviation of 100. The scale is based on the 1995 results, and the results of all subsequent TIMSS administrations have been placed on this same scale. This allows countries to compare their performance over time as well as to compare with a set standard, the TIMSS scale average.

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education