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News Release - Eighth Graders Performing Well in Math and Science

Dec. 11, 2012

News Release

Colorado eighth-graders perform at or above many international counterparts in mathematics and science

In results released today from the National Center for Education Statistics, Colorado eighth-graders performed above international and national averages in science and above international and with national counterparts in mathematics in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). The average math scores of the east Asian countries of Korea, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Japan as well as Massachusetts were significantly higher than Colorado’s average scores for both science and mathematics. Other states that outperformed Colorado in mathematics were North Carolina and Minnesota.

Colorado’s average mathematics score (518) is above the international average of 500 and the U.S. average of 509. Colorado is one of 16 systems that had higher percentages of eighth-graders reaching the Advanced TIMMS international math benchmark than the U.S. in math. Thirty-six countries/education systems scored lower than Colorado in math, while Colorado scored lower than 10 countries/education systems. Colorado scored significantly higher than the TIMSS math average for male, female, white and Asian students. The scores of students from other racial groups were not significantly different from the TIMSS scale average.

Colorado’s average science score (542) is in the top third of all countries/education systems and above the U.S. average (525). Colorado is one of 18 systems that had higher percentages of eighth-graders reaching the Advanced TIMSS international science benchmark than the U.S. Thirty-nine countries/education systems scored lower than Colorado, while six countries/education systems scored higher. Colorado scored higher than the TIMSS science average for students in schools with 10 to 50 percent free and reduced-price lunch.

Colorado was one of eight states selected to participate in the 2011 TIMSS. Testing was paid for by the National Center for Education Statistics under the U.S. Department of Education (Florida participated but paid with their own funds). The test was given to eighth graders in 38 countries and 18 education systems (nine of the systems are in the U.S.: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and North Carolina). Worldwide, 9,304 schools participated with 279,000 students. In Colorado, 53 schools with 2,167 students participated in the international group and 10 Colorado schools with 500 students participated in the national group. The tests were administered April 4 – May 27, 2011. As Colorado moves forward with its new science and mathematics assessments, these TIMSS results can be used to inform where Colorado sets its proficiency levels to ensure that Colorado results reflect this critical international benchmark.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is an international comparative study of student achievement. TIMSS 2011 represents the fifth such study since TIMSS was first conducted in 1995. This is the first year that Colorado has participated in the grade eight tests. TIMSS assesses the mathematics and science knowledge and skills of fourth- and eighth-graders and is aligned broadly with mathematics and science curricula in the participating education systems.

For more information on how Colorado performed, visit For more information on TIMSS, visit or

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