The impact of globalisation has spurred a chain cycle that has brought inevitable demands on the role of education in the 21st century. Keeping in mind that many education systems have embarked on a mission to produce human capital in the 21st century, many issues and challenges lie ahead in realising this global aspiration. College graduates could hardly find employment as industries see them lacking the necessary 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, creative thinking and communication skills. Poor quality in education due to ineffective teaching approaches further aggravates the challenge to churn balanced scholars who are knowledgeable and morally inclined. In order to drive a country into a fully developed nation status and is aligned with the 4th industrial revolution, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines play a critical role. Human capital with solid foundation in these four areas serves as foundation for a country to move forward towards economic development. However, the low enrollment in science and mathematics related subjects and STEM career cause alarm to the governments all over the world. Steps have been taken by governments, NGOs and educational institution in trying to fix this concern. These critically relevant issues require evidence-substantiated intervention from practitioners and researchers for reforms in educational policies.
Aligning these current practical challenges to reliable educational data, international assessments such as Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) that is managed by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) provides a comprehensive examination of the background information, in the fields of Mathematics and Science, with the aim of improving teaching and learning practices. TIMSS carries more than two decade-old legacy in providing up to date answers on the impact of revised educational policies in the 63 participating counties, since its inception in 1995 and was formerly known as the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS 1995). Since then, it was implemented repeatedly in every four years through testing of learners of 10 years’ (Grade 4) and 14 years’ (Grade 8) old. In addition to reporting on country’s performance in mathematics and science, TIMSS also collects data that are specifically related to the curriculum and its implementation, instructional practices, school leadership and school resources. Hence, despite the high cost incurred, many global and regional developing and developed countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand participate in this international assessment as one of the countries’ efforts to benchmark the curriculum standard of the respective participating countries.
Thus, this first TIMSS Symposium will bring together interested researchers, educators, and practitioners from the Southeast Asian countries and other parts of the world to share their analyses and findings that impact classroom learning, which will otherwise be confined to their country. This conference also hopes to initiate the formation of a network of professional learning community among interested members of the educational community to bridge the gap between research data and practical implications, in addressing current challenges that face the 21st century learners all over the world.
- To serve as a platform for exchange of ideas among scholars, researchers and industrial practitioners
- To enrich the knowledge and skills of researchers on various current methodologies, models, approaches and techniques to analyze TIMSS data
- To promote STEM learning through sharing of evidence-based practices from TIMSS data
- To generate more ideas for policy improvement on mathematics and science education
- To forge partnership between industries and educational sectors in promoting quality mathematics and science education