Basic Education Department Releases TIMSS Results


The Department of Basic Education has released the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study report and has lead to the Department being concerned when it comes to the pace of improvements in maths and science.

The Department of Basic Education has released the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) report and has lead to the Department being concerned when it comes to the pace of improvements in maths and science.

TIMMS compared information from grade 5 and grade 9 academic performances.

The country remains at the bottom of the average in Maths and Science around the world even though it was seen that learners are improving when it comes to their academic performance. 

South Africa, Morocco and Egypt participated in the 2019 TIMSS with South Africa coming second last in Maths and last in Science. 

Improvement were seen in the Grade 9 scores.

At a secondary level, the system is moving forward, it's moving in the right direction and overall, in the last 25 years, the improvement has been 100 TIMSS points for one standard deviation and that's a big milestone.

At a primary school level, no changes were seen from the last period.

Western Cape had the highest score while Limpopo was the lowest. It was also found that girls did better than boys.

The Department has said that home resources influenced the learners' academic performances with learners from no fees schools doing worse than others. 

"It's good to see improvement but we need much more improvement. We need that improvement to be rapid and we need that improvement to be throughout the school system and particularly those sections that are left behind," said Professor Mary Metcalfe.

Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, said that South Africa is struggling in the terms assessment because of challenges which exist at foundation phase level. She continued to say:

I'm encouraged that a third world country with very limited resources, a very difficult history where a majority of people are still trapped in poverty but were able to compete at a national level ... I'm really encouraged that as a country, we can hold our own in a very competitive environment.

South Africa's performance in TIMSS is also said to have been impacted by poor curriculum design. 

The study revealed, “While the improvement in educational achievement is recognised, the concern is that the rate of improvement is decreasing. The improvement rate for mathematics and science achievement for the 2003 to 2011 period was 7.4 points and 7.1 points per year respectively. However, for the 2011 to 2019 period these figures fall to 4.6 points and 4.8 points per year."

1% of learners achieved at the advanced benchmark and that 3% of mathematics learners and 5% of science learners scored higher than 550 TIMSS points which is a high benchmark while 13% of mathematics learners and 15% of science learners scored higher than 475 TIMSS points which is the intermediate benchmark.

It also showed that 59% of learners had not acquired basic mathematical knowledge and 64% had not acquired basic science knowledge.

To view the TIMSS reports, click here.








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