Every four years, the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) ranks Year 4 student results from 49 countries and Year 8 results for 39 countries.
The recent report card from TIMSS shows Australia falling behind, with our results moving us from 18th place to 28th in Year 4 maths and from 12th to 17th in Year 8 maths and science.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham recently addressed the concern that countries like Kazakhstan have now surpassed us in four of the TIMSS categories.
“I don’t want to denigrate Kazakhstan, or indeed their artistic skills with movies like Borat,” Senator Birmingham said, according to ABC News.
“I think though Australia should be seeking to be amongst the best in the world and declines like this are unacceptable and that we need to be working hard to turn it around.”
Other nations currently ahead of Australia in the TIMSS results include the US, Singapore and England.
Naturally, the news has added fuel to the education funding debate, causing Senator Birmingham to call for unilateral support in improving education outcomes.
“What I am urging the Opposition — the Labor Party — and the states and territories to focus on is how we can best use what is a record and growing investment in Australian schools to get the best possible outcomes for the future rather than continuing a debate that pretends that money itself is the solution.”
Labor’s education spokesperson. Tanya Plibersek has taken the opportunity to highlight the need for the Gonski model to be implemented.
“The results are very concerning and they show exactly why we need to invest extra in our schools,” Ms Plibersek said.
“They show that kids from poorer families in poorer schools in remote and regional areas are doing worst of all.