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Ghana’s achievement in mathematics in TIMSS 2007

DK Mereku
CR Anumel


In the international assessment programme in mathematics and science, called the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the achievement of Ghanaian students in mathematics had been among the lowest in the world. This article contains the summary of results from TIMSS held in 2007 in which Ghana participated at the eighth
grade level (i.e. JHS2). TIMSS 2007 involved approximately 425,000 students and 59 countries from all around the world. In 2003 Ghana participated in the TIMSS for the first time alongside 45 other countries. The 2007 survey updates the picture of performance from 2003, and in all 163 schools with JHS2 enrolment of 5,294 students sampled from all
regions of Ghana participated in the study. The results indicate that Ghana’s JHS2 students’ performance in mathematics, though improved significantly (i.e. from a scale score of 276 in 2003 to 309 in 2007), remains among the lowest in Africa and the world. Ghana’s
performance on the international benchmarks also improved significantly. The mathematics score, 309, placed Ghana at the 47th position on the overall mathematics achievement results table when the 48 participating countries, which met the TIMSS sampling requirements, were ranked by their mean performances. The paper also presents a number of
factors which students, teachers and head teachers identified as contributing to the abysmal performance in the subject. A number of recommendations are made for the improvement of mathematics education in Ghana.

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