SA Students Move From Top Best To Second Last In Maths

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It’s really shocking how SA students who are known for their best performance in Math and sciences turned out second last in the world.

Latest report from the trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) study proves that South African students still battle to gain ground in the world ranking

The report, which had more than n 580,000 students in 57 countries taking part in the study, has SA students ranking near the bottom of the list.

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The study had both 10-year-olds and 14-year-olds in maths and science test every four years.

TIMSS Numeracy assessment was designed to be administered at the Grade 4, 5 or 6 levels to measure children’s numeracy learning outcomes. TIMSS Numeracy was conducted for the first time in South Africa in 2014 at the Grade 5 level

According to TIMSS, pupils from East Asian countries including Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Japan have maintained leading positions in the subjects of mathematics and science.

The same applies to countries placed in the top six for science. Russia placed fourth in science for 10-year-olds and seventh for 14-year-olds; while Slovenia’s 14-year-olds were fifth while Singapore topped all four of the rankings’ tables.



For South African participants, pupils from grade nine and grade five placed second last in mathematics, while pupils in grade nine placed last in science. Pupils in grade five did not take the science tests.

South African grade nine students write exams for grade eights because the TIMSS assessment is deemed too difficult for the standard offered by the country’s education system.

Report has it that one of the reasons why the SA participants failed woefully in the test was that because the TIMSS assessment is deemed too difficult for the standard offered by the country’s education system.

That is why the grade nine SA students had to write exams for grade eights

TIMSS was first administered in South Africa in 1995, South African Human Sciences Research Council noted, adding that this continued to be administered in 1999, 2003, 2011 and 2015.

The assessment had about 12,500 learners and 330 mathematics and science teachers from 292 schools participated in the study.

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Published by the  International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), the study is the longest running, large-scale international assessment of mathematics and science education in the world.