Highlights from TIMSS 2007 at AAAS

I’m getting ready for a session at AAAS where researchers will explore the results of the multi-national TIMSS study of science knowledge by 4th and 8th graders. They’ll be comparing different US state results to draw lessons for improving science education, looking at Massachusetts and Minnesota’s dramatic improvements on these tests from 2005 to 2007.

The room is fairly empty, and an audience member suggests that they’d get a better crowd at the science teachers’ meetings in Philadelphia this summer. A session organizer replies, “The people who should be here, aren’t.”

A message in lots of the science communication and science policy sessions has been that scientists and senior science educators need to be better communicators. Learning what works and what doesn’t should be of interest to all of them, so I have to agree it’s a shame to see the room so empty.


  1. #1 joemac53
    February 20, 2010

    I shoulda been there! Public high school (MA) math/science teacher for 30+ years. I’m the only one in my district who keeps track of TIMSS. If it ain’t MCAS, it ain’t worth knowing. How’s that for making sure the word doesn’t get out?

    (MCAS is a graduation requirement in Massachusetts)

  2. #2 Jason
    February 20, 2010

    Science (8th grade) teacher here too. I’d be interested in a webcast if it’s out there. As much as I’d love to be in San Diego right now, it’s unlikely that many of us can afford to ship ourselves out there in the middle of the school year. Unless it’s in my backyard, access is the major issue.

    Speaking of access, while you’re there, can you tell them that it’s constantly frustrating for me to want to read all the science education research and then have it gated. I can’t pay $30 every time I want to read an article for 48 hours. Instead I have to wait a couple years for someone to write a book that I can check out from the library. Then usually it’ll take me the school year to adopt whatever it is. So we’re looking at a 3 year lag in the best of cases.

  3. #3 Cheryl Shepherd-Adams
    February 21, 2010

    A session organizer replies, “The people who should be here, aren’t.”

    Sounds like parent-teacher conferences! Yes, it’s a shame, but not surprising. It’s a rare scientist who will reach out and help inform the public, or who’ll stop blaming K12 science education long enough to try to fix at least their own little corner of the world.

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