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Does enjoyment go down as achievement goes up? Findings from TIMSS on how pupil attitudes to maths and science have changed over 20 years

Blog Editor, IOE Digital20 June 2017

Toby Greany. 
When the report on the 2015 International Trends in Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) was launched late last year, the media’s focus was on how England had performed relative to other countries in the tests. The headline result is that England did reasonably well overall, performing significantly above the international mean in maths and science in both years 5 and 9, which places us in the second highest performing group of countries overall. [A blog summarising England’s performance is available here].
What I want to focus on here though is how pupil attitudes to maths and science have changed over the past 20 years. One finding is that enjoyment and confidence in maths declined among Year 9 pupils in England between 1995 and 2015, even as our attainment increased. This apparent paradox has been seen across a number of countries participating (more…)