PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians are improving at mathematics and science, according to the latest report by an international agency.
According to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science (TIMMS) 2015 report, Malaysia scored 465 in mathematics and 471 in science, a significant improvement from 2011, when it was 440 and 426 respectively.
The report was released by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).
The 2011 score placed the country below the international average, and was a regression from the 2007 score of 474 for mathematics and 471 for science.
“I am pleased as this is a positive sign,” Education Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof told a press conference yesterday, after the release of the survey result which comes in a four-year cycle.
TIMMS is a large-scale survey conducted to give an international overview on the teaching and learning of mathematics and science so that participating countries can make informed decisions about educational policy and practice.
“I hope it will be a stepping stone for us to achieve our goals of scoring 500 points for both maths and science in TIMMS 2019, and to elevate ourselves into the top third of countries participating in international assessments like the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) and TIMMS by 2025 as mentioned in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.
“The international benchmarking of studies is necessary as it provides an input for the improvement of our national education,” he added.
First conducted in 1995, TIMSS assesses fourth (Year Four) and eighth grade (Form Two) students around the world on curriculum content shared by participating countries.
Malaysia has been participating in this exercise since 1999 by allowing its Form 2 students to be assessed by the IEA, which in turn is directed by the TIMSS International Study Centre at Boston College of the United States in collaboration with the network of organisations and representatives from participating countries.
The tests contain multiple choice and structured subjective questions, and are carried out in the main language of instruction in the respective countries.
With this better showing, Malaysia has improved in ranking, with the country now at 22nd and 24th for mathematics and science respectively, up from 26th and 32nd in 2011.
“The factors that led to the improvement of Malaysia’s TIMMS 2015 results include the level of preparation by teachers and principals, the school environment as well as the students’ socioeconomic status,” said Dr Khair.
Malaysia’s education system will come under another spotlight next Tuesday, when the global results of Pisa are released.