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Maltese 13-year-olds improve their mathematical and science competences

Reference Number: MEDE291116, Press Release Issue Date: Nov 29, 2016

Maltese 13-year-olds have improved their scores in an international study measuring mathematical and science competences of students from across 39 countries.


The study, known as TIMSS, (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), shows that local 13-year-old students (year 9) have obtained 494 score points in Mathematics in the 2015 study, placing Malta in the 20th position. This is six marks more than the last time the study was done in Malta, back in 2007. In Science, Maltese students obtained an average of 481 score points which is 24 additional marks than 2007, placing it in the 22nd position.


The improved scores show that the efforts taken between 2007 and 2015 to improve competences in mathematics and science have left a positive mark. The international study takes place every four years however in the 2011 study Malta’s contribution was in a younger age group than this year’s.


The TIMSS study includes a number of questionnaires that are completed by the students, by heads of schools and by teachers of Mathematics and Science. These questionnaires show that higher proportions of Maltese students like learning Science subjects than they do Mathematics while male students value Mathematics more than female students. Then again there is no significant gender difference for the value given to Science subjects.


The proportion of heads of schools (50%) in Malta stating that their schools experience negligible disciplinary problems is significantly higher than the international average (43%). On the other hand 64% of Maltese students taking part in TIMSS reported that they hardly ever experienced bullying. This study also showed that the proportions of Maltese Mathematics and Science teachers with less than 10 years teaching experience (47% and 53% respectively) are significantly higher than the international averages (37% and 38%).


Links to the TIMSS 2015 International Report and the corresponding TIMSS 2015 Malta Report can be found at