Mathematics achievement in the Netherlands and appropriateness of the TIMSS mathematics test

Wilmad Kuiper, Klaas Bos, Tjeerd Plomp

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Dutch students performed relatively well on the TIMSS mathematics test for population 2, although influential mathematics educators heavily criticised the appropriateness and fairness of the test in terms of the new, application- and inquiry-oriented mathematics curriculum which was implemented beginning in August 1993. This new intended curriculum differs drastically from the previous more formal and curriculum from before 1993. For both policy makers and mathematics and science educators in the Netherlands important questions are the following: how should this discrepancy between students’ performance and curricular appropriateness of the test be interpreted, and is there a discrepancy? Via expert appraisal, data have been gathered about the extent to which the TIMSS mathematics items are appropriate for this new intended mathematics curriculum. In addition, teachers were asked to judge the appropriateness of a selection of mathematics items in terms of the implemented curriculum. In this article the outcomes of the analyses with regard to the overlap between, on the one hand, the test and, on the other hand, both the intended curriculum and the implemented curriculum are described. In addition, as far as the intended curriculum is concerned, test-curriculum overlap outcomes are related to students’ performances on the test.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-104
Number of pages19
JournalEducational research and evaluation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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