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New data shows solid performance for England on maths and science teaching

30/11/2016 Joanna

England remains one of the world's better-performing countries in terms of the quality of its maths and science teaching, according to a new international study.

Data from the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which is published every four years, indicated that attainment standards for the two subjects among year 5 and year 9 pupils remain relatively high in England compared to a number of other leading countries.

In terms of science, England was ranked among the countries showing the best sustained improvements in science since the TIMSS measure was introduced in 1995, while English pupils have also seen their standards rise in maths across both age groups over the two decades assessed by TIMSS.

England was ranked eighth out of the 39 countries involved in the study in terms of science results among 13 and 14-year-olds, putting the nation ahead of the US, Canada and Australia. This was the single best ranking performance in any subgroup.

In terms of maths, England was shown to be one of the better performers outside Asia, but the gap between the top-achieving Asian nations such as Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea and the rest of the chasing pack is widening, indicating that more needs to be done to learn from the best practice being employed in these countries.

However, the report indicated that children in England are generally enjoying their lessons, with 97 per cent of year 5 pupils and 80 per cent of year 9 pupils describing their maths teaching as either engaging or very engaging, with corresponding figures of 94 per cent and 80 per cent for science.

Indeed, more English pupils in both age categories viewed teaching as being very engaging than those in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, the five highest-performing nations.

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