Study Shows Math and Science Scores Improve for U.S. Fourth and Eighth Grade Students

SCORING HIGHER: Fourth and eighth grade students in the U.S. have made longterm improvements in their math skills, according to the most recent Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). The data revealed that U.S. fourth-graders’ average mathematics scores increased overall from 1995 and 2015, going from 518 to 539 points. Meanwhile average math scores for U.S. eighth-graders’ increased from 492 points in 1995 to 518 points in 2015 — higher than all previous TIMSS administrations. 

While U.S. students scored highly on both subjects, not all of the data — like stark gender gap findings — was worth celebrating. For instance, “in the United States and all other education systems except Lebanon, males scored higher than females, on average, in physics,” the report reads. There also was a 30-point difference between U.S. boys and girls mathematics scores’—higher than most regions surveyed, which all favored boys and ranged from about nine (Russian Federation) to 27 (Slovenia).

The data also revealed how U.S. students’ math and science scores compare with those in other countries. The study showed that in 2015, seven education systems—including Finland, Japan and Kazakhstan—outperformed U.S. fourth and eighth graders in science. The same year, students from 10 education systems such as Norway, England and Singapore topped U.S. students’ average score in mathematics, while students in eight systems scored higher in mathematics than U.S. eighth-graders. 

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