TIMSS 2019 IN SOUTH AFRICA: Insights towards improving achievement in school mathematics and science
Having led South Africa’s Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) for 20 years, Reddy was well aware of the significant challenges that had to be overcome to make small but steady performance improvements in these subjects. The TIMSS team must have pondered this while analysing the TIMSS 2019 results during the height of the pandemic disruption in 2020. Starting with Reddy’s article on the history of TIMSS in South Africa, this edition of the HSRC Review features a selection of articles on the TIMSS 2019 results, which is a snapshot of the education system’s performance in mathematics and science. It also covers several factors that have influenced achievement in this survey, which is conducted every four years. Mathematics and science are required subjects for learners who intend to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – careers that ultimately feed innovation and technological advancement to grow economies. These subjects also equip them to function in an increasingly technology-oriented society. The articles examine factors such as gender differences, language, school leadership, classroom practice, learners’ self-efficacy, homework, home environment and school climate.