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TIMSS 2011 Results

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2011 is the fifth administration of TIMSS carried out since 1995 by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)—an international organization of national research institutions and governmental research agencies. TIMSS assesses the mathematics and science knowledge and skills of 4th- and 8th-graders internationally. In 2011, 57 countries and other education systems administered TIMSS at grade 4, and 56 administered TIMSS at grade 8 (Table 1). Because the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) was also administered at grade 4 in spring 2011, TIMSS and PIRLS in the United States were administered in the same schools to the extent feasible. Students took either TIMSS or PIRLS on the day of the assessments. The TIMSS 2011 Results pages present selected findings from TIMSS 2011 from the U.S. perspective.

For a brief summary of

  • U.S. results in mathematics at grade 4 and 8, click here.
  • U.S. results in science at grade 4 and 8, click here.
  • U.S. State results in mathematics and science, click here.

The full version of the U.S. report from which these selected findings are taken, Highlights From TIMSS 2011: Mathematics and Science Achievement of U.S. Fourth- and Eighth-Grade Students in an International Context, is available for browsing or downloading.

The Commissioner's statement and presentation of the TIMSS and PIRLS 2011 results are also available:

Most of the findings in the U.S. report are based on the results presented in two international reports published by the IEA and available online at

After the initial release of the NCES TIMSS 2011 national report and supplemental tables, several minor changes were made to the report, Appendix A, and to footnotes in Appendix E. View the errata notice for details.

Additional TIMSS reports are also available under Publications and Products.

Countries or Education Systems?

The international bodies that coordinate international assessments vary in the labels they apply to participating entities. For example, the IEA, which coordinates TIMSS, differentiates between IEA members, which the IEA refers to as “countries” in all cases, and “benchmarking participants.” IEA members include countries such as the United States and Japan, as well as subnational entities, such as England and Scotland (which are both part of the United Kingdom), the Flemish community of Belgium and the French community of Belgium, and Hong Kong, which is a Special Administrative Region of China. IEA benchmarking participants are all subnational entities and include U.S. states, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and, in 2011, participating Canadian provinces.

In an effort to increase the comparability of results across the international assessments in which the United States participates, the TIMSS 2011 report uses a standard international classification of nation-states (the U.S. State Department list of “independent states” at to report out separately “countries” and “other education systems,” which include all other non-national entities that received a TIMSS score. The TIMSS 2011 report’s tables and figures follow the IEA TIMSS convention of placing members and nonmembers in separate parts of the tables and figures in order to facilitate readers moving between the international and U.S. national report. However, the text of the TIMSS 2011 report refers to “countries” and “other education systems,” following the standard classification of nation-states.

Thus, in this report, “countries” are complete, independent political entities, whereas “other education systems” represent a portion of a country, nation, kingdom, or emirate or are other non-national entities (e.g., U.S. states, Canadian provinces, Flemish Belgium, and Northern Ireland). In this report, these “other education systems” are designated as such by their national three-letter international abbreviation appended to their name (e.g., England-GBR, Ontario-CAN).