Two international surveys of reading achievement and knowledge in mathematics and science in fourth and eighth graders (9 and 14-year-olds) will be published today. The last Timss survey in 2007 had a major impact on Sweden, highlighting a sharp decline in achievement. More than 10,000 fourth and eighth graders in Sweden participated when the latest surveys were carried out.
It is the first time PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) and TIMSS (Trends in International Maths and Science Study) have coincided. In the last 2007 Timss study, according to the Guardian newspaper, Sweden's ranking for science fell further than any other countries. The news many are waiting for is whether the trend of declining Swedish results persist.
Swedish pupils were below the EU/OECD average in mathematics in the previous Timss survey. Swedish children have have fared well internationally in terms of literacy, but have seen a number of countries such as neighbouring Finland surpass their achievements.
The results of both surveys will have a big impact on political debate in Sweden, acccording to Professor Ulf P. Lundgren, Emeritus of Education.
"This is because the international education policy has a strong emphasis on results, and it is linked to the notion that we are competing in a global market. You can almost compare with the Olympic competitions," Lundgren says to news agency TT.