The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is an assessment of the mathematics and science knowledge of fourth and eighth grade learners around the world. The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) designed TIMSS to allow participating nations to monitor their educational achievements and how their achievements change over time, as well as to compare educational achievement across borders in the key subjects of mathematics and science. In addition to achievement data, TIMSS collects contextual information about the home, school and classroom to explain learner achievement.
Since 1995, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) has conducted TIMSS in South Africa. The country participated at the grade 8 level in the 1995, 1999 and 2003 cycles, and at the grade 9 level in the 2003, 2011, 2015 and 2019 cycles. South Africa first participated at the fifth grade level in the TIMSS 2015 Numeracy assessment. In TIMSS 2019, grade 5 learners took part in both the mathematics and the science assessment.
The 2019 Grade 5 test administration was conducted in 291 schools with 11 891 learners in October 2018. The Grade 9 data collection took place in September 2019. We boosted the number of schools in Gauteng and the Western Cape from 30 to 150, to provide more robust estimates. Data collection occurred in 519 schools with 20 829 learners across the country. We will report on national statistics. In addition, Gauteng and Western Cape, will appear as benchmarking provinces in the international report and we will report on their statistics separately as well.