25 years of TIMSS in South Africa: improved achievements but pace of improvement is slowing
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In the context of the political changes of the 1990s in South Africa, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) revised its research agenda in relation to the new democratic government and society. The HSRC reconnected with social science and education communities in South Africa and took a strategic decision to conduct large-scale survey research, which universities may have found difficult to undertake. TIMSS was developed by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement to allow participating nations to compare their learners educational achievement across borders. The late HSRC researcher Dr Derek Gray identified TIMSS as an important study in relation to the South African Reconstruction and Development Plan and to the future planning of the education system in the country. In addition to estimating South African learners achievement in relation to other countries, TIMSS provided the opportunity to monitor changes in educational achievement over time.