Skip Navigation
Skip Navigation

Advanced Mathematics at the End of High School: International Benchmarks

Excel File Excel Download

Exhibit 3. Description of TIMSS Advanced international benchmarks in advanced mathematics: 2015
Benchmarks Advanced mathematics
SOURCE: Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Foy, P., and Hooper, M. (2016). TIMSS Advanced 2015 International Results in Advanced Mathematics and Physics. Retrieved from
Advanced (625) Students demonstrate thorough understanding of concepts, mastery of procedures, and mathematical reasoning skills. They can solve problems in complex contexts in algebra, calculus, geometry, and trigonometry. In algebra, students can reason with functions to solve pure mathematical problems. They demonstrate facility with complex numbers and permutations and can find sums of algebraic and infinite geometric series. In calculus, students demonstrate thorough understanding of continuity and differentiability. They can solve problems about optimization in different contexts and justify their solutions. They can use definite integrals to calculate the area between the curves. Students use geometric reasoning to solve complex problems. They use properties of vectors to express relationships among vectors. They can use trigonometric properties including the sine and cosine rules to solve non-routine problems about geometric figures.
High (550) Students can apply a broad range of mathematical concepts and procedures in algebra, calculus, geometry, and trigonometry to analyze and solve multistep problems set in routine and non-routine contexts. Students can analyze and solve algebra problems, including problems set in a practical context. They can solve problems requiring interpretation of information related to functions and graphs of functions. They can determine a sum of an arithmetic sequence and solve quadratic and other inequalities. They can simplify logarithmic expressions and multiply complex numbers. In calculus, students have a basic understanding of continuity and differentiability. They can analyze equations of functions and graphs of functions. They can relate the graphs of functions to graphs and signs of their first and second derivatives. Students show some conceptual understanding of definite integrals. Students can use trigonometric properties to solve a variety of problems involving trigonometric functions and geometric figures. They can use the Cartesian plane to solve problems, identify a vector perpendicular to a given vector, and prove that a quadrilateral given in the coordinate system is a parallelogram.
Intermediate (475) Students demonstrate basic knowledge of concepts and procedures in algebra, calculus, and geometry to solve routine problems. Students can apply and transform a formula to solve a word problem. They can determine a term in a geometric sequence and analyze a proposed solution of a simple logarithmic equation. They can recognize a graph of the absolute value of a function and identify and evaluate composite functions. They can make connections between the sign of the derivative and the graph of a function. Students can use knowledge of basic properties of geometric figures and the Pythagorean theorem to solve problems. They can add and subtract vectors in coordinate form.