Policy Science Education

Interpretation of International Test Score Comparisons

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Science  15 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5366, pp. 1030-1031
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5366.1030

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The most recent findings of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) prompted widespread concern because the United States ranked relatively low in test score comparisons made at the end of secondary school. These reactions are based on a misleading and seriously flawed study. The article discusses the methodological problems in the comparisons and suggests an approach to international studies that would increase their relevance.