In an international survey of trends in mathematics and science study (TIMSS) conducted in 2015, Croatian fourth-grade primary school students achieved much better results than in the testing conducted in 2011, reports Večernji List on November 30, 2016.
In the area of natural sciences, they won 533 points (the median result is 500), which brought them the 18th position among 47 countries whose students were included in the survey. Among European countries, they took the ninth position. In the natural sciences area, the best in the world were students from Singapore, followed by South Korea. Croatia was slightly worse than the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, but also better than Ireland, Germany and Denmark.
In maths, Croatia’s fourth grade students achieved significantly better results than the generation which was tested four years ago. They secured 502 points, two more than the median, and thus took the 32nd place in the world, and the 20th position in Europe. Students from Singapore were the best in this category as well.
Among the European countries, the best ranked were students from Northern Ireland, who took the sixth place in the world. It is interesting that Croatia is ranked among the group of countries with improving results, while some of the countries whose education systems are sometimes mentioned as possible role models, such as Finland or Germany, have actually declined in the rankings.
Results of male and female students in the sciences area were roughly equal, while in maths Croatian male students were more successful than their female colleagues by 12 points.
Although it is often thought that Croatian students are not good in the application of knowledge and reasoning, the research actually demonstrated otherwise. Reasoning in the science area brought them 536 points, factual knowledge 534 points, and the application of knowledge 530 points. In mathematics, they were also good at reasoning and facts, but somewhat weaker in the application of knowledge.
The results were affected by the teaching curricula (Croatian curricula are just slightly over 50 percent compliant with what was being tested), socio-economic conditions in which students live, teaching equipment available in schools, and exposure to violence. Not surprisingly, students who have never experienced violence had much better average results than those were are regularly exposed to violence.