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TIMSS/PIRLS: Reactions from Asia’s Top Performers

16 December 2012 48,590 One Comment

Handwringing and head scratching around the 2011 TIMSS and PIRLS results released yesterday continue around the globe. While Western countries show great admiration of the outstanding scores of East Asia and lament on their own abysmal performance, the East Asian education systems, while celebrating their achievement, are worried about something that the media in Western countries rarely mentions. Here are some examples:


“But enthusiasm for studying science was below the global average among Japanese second-year junior high students. The fourth-graders interest in arithmetic was also below the world average.” –Japan Times


Nevertheless, the study showed that the Republic still has to work on students’ confidence in approaching the subjects of math and science. TIMMS, which measured this component for the first time, saw Singaporean students exhibiting positive learning attitudes.

However, their confidence levels were found to be lower compared to students in other education systems. —Today Online

Hong Kong:

Hong Kong students reading scores topped the world but their motivation to read ranked bottom, with only 54% of students reported that they were motivated to reading, far below the international average of 74%. They also ranked low in reading interest and confidence.

Professor Xie of Hong Kong Institute of Education, who is in charge of the study, found similar situations in Taiwan, Korea, and other test-oriented countries and regions. Using Hong Kong as an example, there is a tradition that both parents and teachers value tests and demand students to study hard, even when they have no interest.–Translated from Mingpao

Chinese Taipei (Taiwan):

Despite the outstanding achievement in TIMSS and PIRLS, the studies show that students have less positive attitude to and low confidence in math, science, and reading. There is also a gap between rural and urban students. The Ministry of Education proposed the following strategies: 1. Reform the entire education system, lower academic pressure, break the shackles of testing, and give back students the joy of learning… –Translated from World People News

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