Thursday, December 13, 2012

TIMSS 2011 Proved Malaysian Education Disaster

The International Mathematics & Science Study (TIMSS) 2011 proved beyond doubt that the Barisan Nasional Government has completely destroyed our education system, causing Malaysia to suffer the biggest drop in results among all tested countries in the world for both subjects.

The 2011 Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) which was released on the 11th of December showed a worrying and unacceptable fall in Malaysia’s ranking and average scores in Math and Science.

Malaysia’s ranking in Math fell from 20th in 2007 to 26th in 2011 while its ranking in Science fell by an ever greater margin, from 21st in 2007 to 32nd in 2011. Our average Math score fell from 474 in 2007 to 440 and our average Science score fell by an even greater degree from 471 in 2007 to 426 in 2011. The results are summarized in Table 1a and 1b below.

Table 1a: 
Fall in Malaysia’s TIMMs ranking in Science and Math, 2007 to 2011

Table 1b: 
Fall in Malaysia’s TIMMs average score in Science and Math, 2007 to 2011

When we compare the results across all the countries, we suffer the ignominy of being the only country other than Jordan which suffered declines in scores in all tested domains for Mathematics (3 areas – Knowledge, Application, Reasoning) and Science (4 areas – Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Earth sciences).

However, the most damning outcome of the test is that Malaysia has suffered the biggest drop in test scores among all countries for both Mathematics and Science between 1999 and 2011.

For Mathematics, our score dropped by 79 points, compared to the next worst country, Thailand, by 40 points.  For Science, our score dropped by 66 points, compared to Macedonia, which fell by 51 points.

The poor achievement of Malaysians students in Math and Science is clearly seen in the % of students scoring full credit for what should be basic Math and Science questions.

For example, for the simple algebra question of  “What does xy +1 mean” (The answer is “multiply x by y, then add 1”), only 43% of Malaysian students answered this question correctly, ranking us 37 out of 42 countries.

In comparison, 94% of students in Hong Kong answered this question correctly. For a relatively simple Chemistry question, “What is the chemical formula for Carbon Dixoide” (The answer is “CO2), only 67% of Malaysian students answered this question correctly, ranking us 43 out of 45 countries. (See Appendix 2 below) In comparison 99% of Japanese students answered this question correctly.

Given the above, it is no wonder that many parents are voting with their feet and their wallets by enrolling in private primary and secondary schools at an alarmingly increasing rate.

The drop in our Math and Science scores as measured by TIMSS an unmitigated disaster our national education system which has been destroyed by the Barisan Nasional education policies.

In the context of the extent of our failing education system, the National Education Blueprint (Peliminary report) is clearly half-hearted in its attempted to reverse the decline and it has failed to address the primary issues of the severe in standards.

The Ministers of Education for Malaysia over this period, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad (1999-2004), Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein (2004-2009) and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (since 2009) must bear full responsibility for failing Malaysia’s young and the future of this country.
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