Asia Tops Global Science, Maths Rankings

Students in Singapore top the global rankings for science and maths for the second time, while England and Hong Kong see a decline in their achievements in secondary science.
Asia Tops Global Science, Maths Rankings
By Carli Allan
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Students in Singapore and East Asia continue to top the rankings for science and maths, while secondary students in England and Hong Kong have both declined in science.

According to the results of international TIMSS tests, which are taken in 64 countries, Singapore’s Year 9 students top the rankings once again for both secondary science and maths. For the second consecutive round of the tests, Singapore is ahead of students in other Asian countries including Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. 

Led by Singapore, five East Asian countries also including Chinese Taipei, Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong, continue to outperform all TIMSS countries in mathematics

Hong Kong is ranked second for Year 9 maths but has fallen out of the top 15 for its Year 9 results in science. Elsewhere in the world, England, has dropped from 8th to 14th place for secondary science; this is its lowest ranking in 25 years. It has moved up to eighth place for secondary maths, though, which is its highest ever ranking.

Tests for the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) are taken every four years by students aged nine to 10 years (Year 5, Grade 4) and 13 to 14 years (Year 9, Grade 8); the latest round of tests were taken in 2019 before education was disrupted by Covid 19.

The results also show that about half the countries taking the tests showed gender equity in average mathematics and science achievement. However, at Year 5, boys outperformed girls in maths in nearly half of the 58 countries and girls outperformed boys in science in 18 countries. Girls also outperformed boys in science in 15 of the 39 countries at Year 9.

It was also found that students like learning maths and science. At Year 5, 80% said they liked learning maths compared to 88% in science. In Year 9, the percentages were lower—59% liked learning maths, and 79% science.

The tables

Grade 4 Maths Average Scale Score  (Standard Error) Above / Below the average
Singapore 625 -3.9 up
Hong Kong SAR 602 -3.3 up
Korea, Rep. of 600 -2.2 up
Chinese Taipei 599 -1.9 up
Japan 593 -1.8 up
Russian Federation 567 -3.3 up
Northern Ireland 566 -2.7 up
England 556 -3 up
Ireland 548 -2.5 up
Latvia 546 -2.6 up
Norway (5) 543 -2.2 up
Lithuania 542 -2.8 up
Austria 539 -2 up
Netherlands 538 -2.2 up
United States 535 -2.5 up
Czech Republic 533 -2.5 up
Belgium (Flemish) 532 -1.9 up
Cyprus 532 -2.9 up
Finland 532 -2.3 up
Portugal 525 -2.6 up
Denmark 525 -1.9 up
Hungary 523 -2.6 up
Turkey (5) 523 -4.4 up
Sweden 521 -2.8 up
Germany 521 -2.3 up
Poland 520 -2.7 up
Australia 516 -2.8 up
Azerbaijan 515 -2.7 up
Bulgaria 515 -4.3 up
Italy 515 -2.4 up
Kazakhstan 512 -2.5 up
Canada 512 -1.9 up
Slovak Republic 510 -3.5 up
Croatia 509 -2.2 up
Malta 509 -1.4 up
Serbia 508 -3.2 up
Spain 502 -2.1  
TIMSS Scale Centerpoint 500    
Armenia 498 -2.5  
Albania 494 -3.4  
New Zealand 487 -2.6 below
France 485 -3 below
Georgia 482 -3.7 below
United Arab Emirates 481 -1.7 below
Bahrain 480 -2.6 below
North Macedonia 472 -5.3 below
Montenegro 453 -2 below
Bosnia and Herzegovina 452 -2.4 below
Qatar 449 -3.4 below
Kosovo 444 -3 below
Iran, Islamic Rep. of 443 -3.9 below
Chile 441 -2.7 below
Oman 431 -3.7 below
Saudi Arabia 398 -3.6 below
Morocco 383 -4.3 below
Kuwait 383 -4.7 below
South Africa (5) 374 -3.6 below
Pakistan 328 -12 below
Philippines 297 -6.4 below
       
Benchmark cities      
Moscow City, Russian Fed. 593 -2.2 up
Dubai, UAE 544 -1.6 up
Quebec, Canada 532 -2.3 above
Madrid, Spain 518 -2.2 above
Ontario, Canada 512 -3.3 above
Abu Dhabi, UAE 441 -2.2 below
       
Grade 4 Science      
Singapore 595 -3.4 above
Korea, Rep. of 588 -2.1 above
Russian Federation 567 -3 above
Japan 562 -1.8 above
Chinese Taipei 558 -1.8 above
Finland 555 -2.6 above
Latvia 542 -2.4 above
Norway (5) 539 -2.2 above
United States 539 -2.7 above
Lithuania 538 -2.5 above
Sweden 537 -3.3 above
England 537 -2.7 above
Czech Republic 534 -2.6 above
Australia 533 -2.4 above
Hong Kong SAR 531 -3.3 above
Poland 531 -2.6 above
Hungary 529 -2.7 above
Ireland 528 -3.2 above
Turkey (5) 526 -4.2 above
Croatia 524 -2.2 above
Canada 523 -1.9 above
Denmark 522 -2.4 above
Austria 522 -2.6 above
Bulgaria 521 -4.9 above
Slovak Republic 521 -3.7 above
Northern Ireland 518 -2.3 above
Netherlands 518 -2.9 above
Germany 518 -2.2 above
Serbia 517 -3.5 above
Cyprus 511 -3 above
Spain 511 -2 above
Italy 510 -3 above
Portugal 504 -2.6  
New Zealand 503 -2.3  
Belgium (Flemish) 501 -2.1  
TIMSS Scale Centerpoint 500    
Malta 496 -1.3 below
Kazakhstan 494 -3.1  
Bahrain 493 -3.4 below
Albania 489 -3.5 below
France 488 -3 below
United Arab Emirates 473 -2.1 below
Chile 469 -2.6 below
Armenia 466 -3.4 below
Bosnia and Herzegovina 459 -2.9 below
Georgia 454 -3.9 below
Montenegro 453 -2.5 below
Qatar 449 -3.9 below
Iran, Islamic Rep. of 441 -4.1 below
Oman 435 -4.1 below
Azerbaijan 427 -3.3 below
North Macedonia 426 -6.2 below
Kosovo 413 -3.7 below
Saudi Arabia 402 -4.1 below
Kuwait 392 -6.1 below
Morocco 374 -5.8 below
South Africa (5) 324 -4.9 below
Pakistan 290 -13.4 below
Philippines 249 -7.5 below
       
Benchmark cities      
Moscow City, Russian Fed. 595 -2.2 above
Dubai, UAE 545 -1.7 above
Ontario, Canada 524 -3.2 above
Madrid, Spain 523 -2 above
Quebec, Canada 522 -2.5 above
Abu Dhabi, UAE 418 -2.8 below
       
Grade 8 Maths      
Singapore 616 -4 above
Chinese Taipei 612 -2.7 above
Korea, Rep. of 607 -2.8 above
Japan 594 -2.7 above
Hong Kong SAR 578 -4.1 above
Russian Federation 543 -4.5 above
Ireland 524 -2.6 above
Lithuania 520 -2.9 above
Israel 519 -4.3 above
Australia 517 -3.8 above
Hungary 517 -2.9 above
United States 515 -4.8 above
England 515 -5.3 above
Finland 509 -2.6 above
Norway (9) 503 -2.4  
Sweden 503 -2.5  
Cyprus 501 -1.6  
Portugal 500 -3.2  
TIMSS Scale Centerpoint 500 0  
Italy 497 -2.7  
Turkey 496 -4.3  
Kazakhstan 488 -3.3 below
France 483 -2.5 below
New Zealand 482 -3.4 below
Bahrain 481 -1.7 below
Romania 479 -4.3 below
United Arab Emirates 473 -1.9 below
Georgia 461 -4.3 below
Malaysia 461 -3.2 below
Iran, Islamic Rep. of 446 -3.7 below
Qatar 443 -4 below
Chile 441 -2.8 below
Lebanon 429 -2.9 below
Jordan 420 -4.3 below
Egypt 413 -5.2 below
Oman 411 -2.8 below
Kuwait 403 -5 below
Saudi Arabia 394 -2.5 below
South Africa (9) 389 -2.3 below
Morocco 388 -2.3 below
       
Benchmark cities      
Moscow City, Russian Fed. 575 -4.2 above
Quebec, Canada 543 -3.7 above
Dubai, UAE 537 -2 above
Ontario, Canada 530 -4.3 above
Western Cape, RSA (9) 441 -4.4 below
Abu Dhabi, UAE 436 -2.9 below
Gauteng, RSA (9) 421 -3 below
       
Grade 8 Science      
Singapore 608 -3.9 above
Chinese Taipei 574 -1.9 above
Japan 570 -2.1 above
Korea, Rep. of 561 -2.1 above
Russian Federation 543 -4.2 above
Finland 543 -3.1 above
Lithuania 534 -3 above
Hungary 530 -2.6 above
Australia 528 -3.2 above
Ireland 523 -2.9 above
United States 522 -4.7 above
Sweden 521 -3.2 above
Portugal 519 -2.9 above
England 517 -4.8 above
Turkey 515 -3.7 above
Israel 513 -4.2 above
Hong Kong SAR 504 -5.2  
Italy 500 -2.6  
TIMSS Scale Centerpoint 500    
New Zealand 499 -3.5  
Norway (9) 495 -3.1  
France 489 -2.7 below
Bahrain 486 -1.9 below
Cyprus 484 -1.9 below
Kazakhstan 478 -3.1 below
Qatar 475 -4.4 below
United Arab Emirates 473 -2.2 below
Romania 470 -4.2 below
Chile 462 -2.9 below
Malaysia 460 -3.5 below
Oman 457 -2.9 below
Jordan 452 -4.7 below
Iran, Islamic Rep. of 449 -3.6 below
Georgia 447 -3.9 below
Kuwait 444 -5.7 below
Saudi Arabia 431 -2.6 below
Morocco 394 -2.7 below
Egypt 389 -5.4 below
Lebanon 377 -4.6 below
South Africa (9) 370 -3.1 below
       
Benchmark cities      
Moscow City, Russian Fed. 567 -2.9 above
Dubai, UAE 548 -2 above
Quebec, Canada 537 -3.6 above
Ontario, Canada 522 -3 above
Western Cape, RSA (9) 439 -5.1 below
Gauteng, RSA (9) 422 -3.9 below
Abu Dhabi, UAE 420 -3.6 below

 

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