Teachers get chance to study the facts about maths and science in Dubai's schools

Published December 9th, 2009 - 08:36 GMT
Teachers and school principals will tomorrow (December 7, 2009) attend a conference aimed at a deeper understanding of the data collected from Dubai’s schools which measured pupils’ achievements in maths and science.
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) was carried out in 2007 in both Government and private schools by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). It was the first ever such international assessment carried out in Dubai’s schools.
The results of the process were published by KHDA a year ago, but tomorrow the longer, more analytical Educators’ Report will be launched in front of an audience of more than 400 of Dubai’s teachers and school principals who took part in the last process.
The conference is being held at Dubai Men’s College in Academic City, and delegates will be given the outline plan for the next cycle of TIMSS in Dubai, in 2011, along with some lessons learned from the first cycle. Juan Manuel from the World Bank and Osama Obeidat, head of monitoring at the Jordan Education Initiative, will be the guest speakers.
Fatma Al Marri, CEO of Dubai Schools Agency, said: “The reason we took part in TIMSS was to gather evidence about how our schools are performing in maths and science. This is all about school reform; until we know how we are doing at the moment, we cannot put measures in place to raise our standards.
“Our teachers gave us such good support during this assessment, and now we need to engage them again for the 2011 cycle. Tomorrow’s conference is their opportunity to learn more about TIMSS and to look at our results, and it is our chance to listen to them and learn how we need to support them during this next big challenge.
“Assessments are good for everyone involved in education; for teachers and principals to guide them in their work, for parents to help them make better-informed choices, and for students who deserve to receive the best possible education that we can give them.”
TIMSS operates on a four-year cycle and measures achievements in maths and science in Years 4 and 8 (10-year-olds and 14-year-olds).  It does not give a world ranking, nor does it rank individual schools or teachers. However, it has given the KHDA hard, data-based evidence upon which the Authority can move forward with its policies.
In Dubai, 96 primary schools and 88 secondary schools, around 3,000 Year 4 students and a little more than 3,200 Year 8 students, took part.  This provided a sample of Dubai’s schools which completely reflects the more-than 13 curricula and many nationalities that make up the education system here. The other unusual factor in Dubai’s education system is that approximately 85 per cent of students here attend private schools.
Some highlights of the results were:
• In Year 8 maths, Dubai, an Emirate, scored 461 points, significantly higher than all of the participants in the region
• In Year 4 maths, Dubai’s score of 444 was near the international average of 500. Dubai, an Emirate, was the highest-performing participant in the region
• In Year 4 science, Dubai scored 460, and outperformed 10 other participants
• In Year 8 science, Dubai scored 489, similar to Scotland and Italy, and above Armenia, Norway, Ukraine and Jordan
• At Year 4, students in private schools scored about 40 points higher in maths than students in public schools.  At Year 8, the differences widen: Students in private schools scored 100 points higher than those in public schools
• At Year 4, students in public schools studying the National Curriculum performed better than students on the National Curriculum in private schools. Private school National Curriculum students performed at a lower level than students studying any other curriculum.
• Students following the UK curriculum in Year 8 were the highest achievers in both maths and science

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