Who is responsible for TIMSS in my country?

The Department for Education (DfE), with support from the TIMSS National Centre.

Who is the 'National Centre'?

The National Centre is a group of education and data specialists who have come together to support the running of the TIMSS programme. The National Centre team consists of the Department for Education, the Institute of Education from the University of London, World Class Arena and RM Education.

Does my school have to participate?

The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement  (IEA)  sets rigorous requirements for TIMSS  to ensure that all countries choose a representative selection of schools. If too few schools in England agree to participate in the international education survey, then the Secretary of State has a statutory power to direct them to participate; however, we look forward to securing the participation of schools on a voluntary basis.

Why was my school selected?

Your school is one of 300 schools carefully selected to be part of the representative sample across England. That’s why your participation is of vital importance to the success of the study.

Are the responses and results confidential?

The information collected will be provided in de-identified form  to the international study organisers and will be shared with the Department for Education (DFE) for international comparison and research purposes. DFE may in turn share the information with other organisations for the purposes of international comparison and research. DFE and any organisation granted access to the data for the purposes of international comparison and researchwill not publish, share, or otherwise disclose information which identifies, or makes it possible to identify any individual or school participating in the study.

RM Education, it’s sub-contractors and the Department For Education adhere strictly to the Data Protection Act and all responses and data provided during the study will be treated accordingly. 

How many schools and pupils will take part in the study?

Across England a sample of 300 schools will be selected. Within each sampled school, one or two classes of pupils from year 5 or year 9 will be specially selected to take part. These pupils will be asked to complete assessments in maths and science and a pupil questionnaire.

The maths and science teachers of the sampled pupils will be asked to complete a teacher questionnaire. Head teachers will also be asked to complete a questionnaire about the school.

How will TIMSS be administered in my school?

Each school will be provided with a National Centre Test Administrator who will work with the school coordinator to administer the study within the school.

Administering TIMSS involves two components: the assessments and the questionnaires. The assessments need to be completed by the selected class(es) within each school (around 30 to 60 pupils).

Each pupil will also be required to complete a pupil questionnaire and their mathematics and science teachers will be required to complete a teacher questionnaire. The school questionnaire needs to be completed by the head teacher.

Assessment materials will be handed to pupils on the test day. All responses and personally identifiable information will be kept secure and protected at all times.

What is the role of the school coordinator and what sort of person is suitable?

During the study the school coordinator will be the main link between the school and the National Centre. The school coordinator will need to be able to book resources such as rooms and facilities for the assessments, ensure all groups readiness to participate and have access to the schools pupil and workforce data.

The school coordinator will be responsible for:

  1. Providing and confirming a list of eligible classes within the school.
  2. Providing and confirming a list of eligible teachers.
  3. Inform selected pupils and their parents/guardians of the schools participation.
  4. Support all groups’ readiness to participate.
  5. Working with the National Centre to book a test date and time, and arranging a suitable room at the school for the test day.
  6. Distributing the questionnaire login information to the selected teachers and the head teacher.
  7. Supporting the National Centre test administrators to invigilate the assessments on the test day.

What sort of support can I expect?

The National Centre will provide phone and email support to help guide you through the preparation activities leading up to your test day.

Each school will also be provided with a National Centre test administrator who will attend your school to invigilate the tests.

What are the key milestones of the study?


Time period


September 2014

Selected schools are informed about their participation in TIMSS. Schools register with the National Centre and begin preparations for the test day.

From March 2015

Testing period commences and participating schools take part on their selected half day.

May 2015

Testing period ends and the expert marking, data entry and data analysis starts.

Early 2016

The report is complete and shared. Schools are invited to attend a regional workshop