Article Title

Improving on average : a close look at maths and science


Recent findings from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) show that Australia's present education system is doing a very good job of education students to an average standard. But the results - in comparison with other countries - must raise some important questions: Is average good enough? And if not, then what lessons can the nation take from this latest set of international comparisons? The author presents the key findings from TIMSS 2007 and discusses the results, including Year 4 Mathematics, Year 8 Mathematics, Year 4 Science, Year 8 Science, Year 4 and Year 8 Indigenous students (where there is a considerable and increasing achievement gap in comparison with non-Indigenous students), and gender bias in that boys outperformed girls in both maths and science at Year 4 and Year 8 (in contrast to the international trend). The mixed results for Australian students highlight the need for improvement at both ends of the education spectrum in this country. [Author abstract, ed]

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