TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) is one of the world’s largest studies in education. The study, which is a project of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), began in 1995 and takes place every four years. It assesses the mathematical and scientific skills of students at Fourth and Eighth grades (Fourth Class and Second Year in Ireland). In 2019, 64 countries and eight benchmarking participants (i.e., subnational entities) took part in TIMSS 2019 at one or both grade levels. Ireland has taken part in four cycles of TIMSS: in 1995, 2015 and 2019 at both primary and post-primary levels and at primary level only in 2011. TIMSS 2019 was the first cycle of the study to offer the assessment on a digital platform. Half of countries that took part in TIMSS 2019 opted to deliver the assessment digitally while the other half, including Ireland, administered the paper-based version of the assessment.
In Ireland, 150 primary and 149 post-primary schools took part in the study in March and April 2019. In total, over 8,500 students took part in TIMSS 2019 in Ireland. As well as completing tests of mathematics and science, students were asked to fill out a questionnaire which asked them about their home background as well as their experience of school and their attitudes towards learning mathematics and science. Teachers were also asked to complete questionnaires about the students’ mathematics and science lessons, while the principal of each participating school was asked about the school environment and resources. At Fourth Class, the parents of participating students were asked to complete a questionnaire about the home environment, which included questions about homework, early learning activities and parents’ beliefs about their child’s schooling.