Advantages and Disadvantages
The active promotion of achievements in math and science among students is a crucial step toward improving the overall efficacy of the learning process, the enhancement of critical thinking among learners, and the further promotion of independent learning among the target population. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), in turn, provide extensive opportunities for training the skills necessary for a profound understanding of mathematics and science (Mullis, Martin, Goh, & Cotter, 2016b). Despite some of the inherent problems with TIMSS, such as the lack of opportunities for embracing alignment-related issues, the chances for identifying the problems with the current management of needs of the diverse population makes the tool very useful.
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Indeed, a closer look at the options that TIMSS provide will reveal that the identified framework serves as the means of managing the needs of disadvantaged learners rather well. Particularly, the assessment system contributes to a faster identification of dents in the current approach toward educating learners from different backgrounds. Consequently, the premises for determining the unique characteristics of the target population and designing elaborate strategies that will help meet their needs in a manner as efficient as possible can be built.
However, TIMSS also have several problems, the lack of opportunities for adjusting them to the specifics of a particular academic institution being the key ones. It is essential to align the curriculum with the assessment process (Mullis et al., 2016b). TIMSS, however, offers a rather rigid framework that is comparatively difficult to shape. Therefore, further improvements will have to be introduced to TIMSS to make it more flexible. For instance, the focus on mathematics and science study may need to be balanced with the emphasis on the development of students’ creativity and articulation, e.g., by increasing the importance of Literature, Social Sciences, etc.
Participation in the TIMSS or Other Standardized Assessments Across Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia views the creation of opportunities for its population to excel in their learning and acquire the skills that will allow for the further consistent personal and professional growth as its responsibility (AlMotairy & Stainbank, 2014). In other words, creating the setting in which the citizens of Saudi Arabia will be able to engage in the process of unceasing and continuous knowledge acquisition as the part of their lifelong learning is deemed as one of the essential objectives. Therefore, Saudi Arabia accepts programs such as TIMSS and defines them as the cornerstones for the future progress of the state (AlMotairy & Stainbank, 2014).
The current curriculum standards accepted in Saudi Arabia imply the active enhancement of the learning processes associated with the acquisition and training of mathematics- and social science-related skills. For instance, according to the official report provided by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (Mullis et al., 2016b), the standards presently set in the UAE academic environment for testing mathematical and science skills align with the ones that are required by the TIMSS standards of assessment (Mullis et al., 2016b). In other words, the existing approach toward testing the learners’ ability to think logically and apply mathematical tools for solving problems meets the criteria set by TIMSS and contributes to the further development of students. Similarly, the attention that the current standards allow paying to the professional development of teachers leads to a massive improvement in students’ performance and the quality of education. Herein lies the significance of Saudi Arabia’s participation in TIMSS and similar international programs.
Balanced Assessment: Effects of TIMSS on Educational Processes in Saudi Arabia
As stressed above, the introduction of TIMSS as part and parcel of the educational process, in general, and its assessments, in particular, is bound to have a generally positive effect on the quality of education, yet some of the characteristics of TIMSS may leave a minor negative impact. For instance, the active reinforcement of the importance of mathematical and logical skills development is likely to be of huge importance for the development of learners.
The general outcome of deploying the principles of TIMSS, as well as similar programs, in the context of the UAE academic environment is likely to be highly positive. Apart from encouraging learners to develop the relevant critical thinking skills and acquire essential information related to Mathematics and social sciences, TIMSS may help students gain independence in their academic endeavors. As a result, the foundation for metacognition and the further engagement in self-directed lifelong learning can be built.
Furthermore, TIMSS will provide extensive opportunities for meeting the needs of vulnerable populations in Saudi Arabia. Disadvantaged students will be able to participate in the learning process along with the rest of learners. The specified change will open a plethora of options for a better understanding of the needs of the identified learners successfully. Furthermore, a rapid increase in diversity and efficacy of cross-cultural communication between teachers and learners will become a possibility.
Therefore, TIMSS and similar programs for improving the curriculum are to be recognized for their efficacy and impressive opportunities for UAE learners. Thus, the specified tools will have to be introduced to the context of the UAE academic setting. As a result, a significant improvement of the learning environment can be expected (Mullis, Martin, Goh, & Cotter, 2016a).
AlMotairy, O. S., & Stainbank, L. J. (2014). Compliance with international education standards in Saudi Arabia: policy and educational implications. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 5(4), 5-19.
Alrashidi, O., & Phan, H. (2015). Education context and English teaching and learning in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: An overview. English Language Teaching, 8(5), 33-44.
Mullis, I. V. S., Martin, M. O., Goh, S., & Cotter, K. (2016a). Saudi Arabia: Overview of education system. Web.
Mullis, I. V. S., Martin, M. O., Goh, S., & Cotter, K. (2016b). TIMSS 2015 encyclopedia: Saudi Arabia. Web.