Slovenian Pupils and High-school Students Show Progress in Physics and Mathematics

Slovenian eighth graders are among the best in the world according to their knowledge of natural sciences, while the high-school students have demonstrated the best results in physics and mathematics. This is indicated by the data contained in the TIMSS international study carried out once every four years.

The study links the level of knowledge among students with the motivational abilities of teachers, teaching methodologies and school environment. The TIMSS study examines the level of knowledge of mathematics and natural sciences among the 4th and 8th grades. The 4th graders, who participated in the study, represent 49 countries, and the 8th grades represent 39 countries.

The pre-university training, which involves knowledge of mathematics by the pupils of 4th grade and the knowledge of physics by the students of 8th grade, who have chosen it as the basic subjects, is carried out only in nine countries and refers to the TIMSS Advance study.

Mathematics and Physics Have a Special Status in Gymnasium

The Slovenian schoolchildren, who study physics, have shown the best result among the nine countries participated in the study, being ahead of their peers from Russia, the USA, France, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Lebanon. They achieved success in mathematics, having demonstrated similar results as their French and Norwegian peers, who study it in depth.

Students, who have to pass the matriculation exam in mathematics, have shown the best results in points, which is equal to the result of their Russian peers studying math according to an intensive program.

Eighth Graders Are Strong in Natural Science

The eighth graders have shown the fifth result in natural sciences among the students from 39 countries, which is equal to the results of students from South Korea, Hong Kong and Russia. The Slovenian eighth graders have conceded only to their peers from Singapore, Japan and Taiwan. Their results in Mathematics were slightly worse — the 12th place only. However, the pupils of 4th grade surpassed the results of the previous study in 2011. They took the 11th place out of 39 possible in natural sciences and were in the happy mean in mathematics. “It is obvious that their successes were positively influenced by the updated curricula,” Barbara Japelj, the coordinator of the study and an employee at the Institute of Pedagogy, explained.

Nevertheless, the level of trust in the Slovenian system of secondary education leaves much to be desired. According to the study, only 17% of the fourth graders’ parents evaluate the quality of school’s work with their children as very high. On average, this international figure is 60%.

Schools are well equipped — 58% of 4th graders and 56% of 8th graders do not feel the lack of technical facilities in education.