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Highlights From the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2003
List of Tables
List of Figures
pdf file Appendices (PDF–493kb)
pdf file Full Report (PDF–664kb)
How did U.S. fourth- and eighth-graders perform in science in 2003?

Fourth Grade:

  • In 2003, 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 8 and table C1 in appendix C). 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 three countries—Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Singapore—outperformed their peers in the United States.
  • In comparison to the other 10 OECD-member countries in science, U.S. fourth-grade students outperformed their peers in seven countries in 2003 (Australia, Belgium-Flemish, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Scotland; table 8). Japanese fourth-grade students were the only group of students to outperform U.S. fourth-grade students among the participating OECD-member countries
View Table 8: Average science scale scores of fourth-grade students, by country: 2003

Eighth Grade:

  • In science, U.S. eighth-graders exceeded the international average and outperformed their peers in 32 of the 44 other participating countries (table 9 and table C2 in appendix C). U.S. eighth-graders performed lower, on average, than their peers in seven countries and were not found to perform measurably different from students in five countries.
  • An examination of the performance of students from the other 12 OECD-member countries shows that U.S. eighth-grade students outperformed their peers in science in five of the countries (Belgium-Flemish, Italy, Norway, Scotland, and the Slovak Republic) and were outperformed by their peers in three of the countries (Hungary, Japan, and Korea; table 9).
View Table 9: Average science scale scores of eighth-grade students, by country: 2003

Next: Did the science performance of U.S. fourth- and eighth-graders change between 1995 and 2003?