Linking TIMSS and NAEP assessments to evaluate international trends in achievement


  • Hwanggyu Lim University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Stephen G. Sireci University of Massachusetts Amherst



achievement levels, equipercentile equating, international assessment, linking, NAEP, TIMSS


The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) makes it possible to compare the performance of students in the US in Mathematics and Science to the performance of students in other countries. TIMSS uses four international benchmarks for describing student achievement: Low, Intermediate, High, and Advanced. In this study, we linked the eighth-grade Math TIMSS and NAEP scales using equipercentile equating to (a) help better interpret U.S. eighth-grade students’ performance on TIMSS, and (b) investigate the progress of eighth-grade U.S. students over time relative to the progress of students in other countries. Results indicated that relative to other countries, U.S. eighth-grade students increased with respect to the “At or Above Basic” NAEP Achievement level, but that other countries saw larger improvements in the higher achievement level categories, relative to the US. This finding may reflect the emphasis of No Child Left Behind on raising lower achievement to “proficient.” However, with respect to “Advanced” mathematics achievement, eighth-grade U.S. students showed less improvement than students in other countries.



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Author Biographies

Hwanggyu Lim, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Hwanggyu Lim received a M.A. in Educational Measurement and Evaluation from Yonsei University in South Korea. He worked at the Korean Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE) as a researcher for three years. While working at KICE, he participated in several projects related to automated scoring and score reporting. Currently he is a doctoral student in Research and Evaluation Methods Program at UMass Amherst. His previous experiences in Item Response Theory (IRT), standard setting, equating, and structural equation modeling align with his research interests. 

Stephen G. Sireci, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dr. Sireci is Professor and Director of the Center for Educational Assessment in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He earned his Ph.D. in psychometrics from Fordham University and his master and bachelor degrees in psychology from Loyola College in Maryland. Before UMASS, he was Senior Psychometrician at the GED Testing Service, Psychometrician for the Uniform CPA Exam and Research Supervisor of Testing for the Newark NJ Board of Education. He is known for his research in evaluating test fairness, particularly issues related to content validity, test bias, cross-lingual assessment, standard setting, and sensitivity review. He is the primary architect of the Massachusetts Adult Proficiency Tests, which is the primary assessment of reading and math skills used in adult education programs in Massachusetts. Formerly, he was President of the Northeastern Educational Research Association (NERA), Co-Editor of the International Journal of Testing, a Senior Scientist for the Gallup Organization and a member of the Board of Directors for the National Council on Measurement in Education. 




How to Cite

Lim, H., & Sireci, S. G. (2017). Linking TIMSS and NAEP assessments to evaluate international trends in achievement. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25, 11.