Will Ghana Be Ready For TIMSS 2007?

TIMSS stands for Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. It is organized every four years by International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) as an international review of school performance. Ghana participated in TIMSS 2003 and we all know the results were embarrassing.

There is TIMSS 2007 around the corner and information is that Ghana will be participating again. I am only wondering if adequate and appropriate preparations are taking place to ensure that Ghana 's participation is worthwhile and that it would yield results that would put smiles on our faces.

The organizers of TIMSS 2007 have set timelines and I hope Ghana is meeting them. For example, framework review and updating was to have begun in September 2004; the first science and mathematics framework review should have taken place 4 -6 April 2005; and a second meeting to finalize framework, review questionnaires, and develop items for field test was to have taken place between 29 th May and 3 rd June 2005. I know some of the usual meetings have been taking place and I hope we have met those deadlines!

I expect that mathematics teachers nationwide would be exposed to the content and cognitive dimensions of the TIMSS 2003 framework and be given access to some of the test items as a priority. Where there is need for upgrading, that should have already begun

Students nationwide should have been practicing some of the test items by now, also as a priority. However, I doubt if any of these is happening! Is MAG (Mathematical Association of Ghana) taking any initiatives to get involved in the preparation for TIMSS 2007?

My concern is that it takes time for the teachers and the students to become familiar with whatever new things they are going to encounter and that we cannot rush them within a short time and expect them to perform creditably. As I write, I am not aware of any training that is taken place for either the teachers or students to prepare them for TIMSS 2007.

Singapore tops these international studies because their teachers are continually upgrading professionally and their students are prepared well in advance of any such studies. I lived in Singapore and trained the mathematics teachers there for several years. Let's prepare our teachers and students early for TIMSS 2007 so that we do NOT rush them to go and embarrass the country again. I hope the authorities concerned are listening!

-Dr. Sitsofe Anku

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