Irish students are top maths performers in EU, study finds

Irish Students Are Top Maths Performers In Eu, Study Finds
The performance of students in Ireland at science is also significantly above the average. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty
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Students from the island of Ireland are the top performers in maths across the European Union at both primary and second level, according to a major international study.

The performance of students in Ireland at science is also significantly above the average.

However, high-achieving students in Ireland are under-performing compared to pupils in other highly ranked countries.

The findings are contained in Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss), based on data gathered in 2019 across more than 600,000 students in 64 countries.

The study, carried out every four years, measures the performance of children at fourth class in primary and second year in secondary level.

It shows there was little significant change recorded among Irish students since 2015 with pupils continuing to perform at a relatively high level.

No significant gender differences were found either, with boys and girls performing equally well in maths and science tests.


Globally, however, Ireland lags significantly behind several east Asian countries and jurisdictions such as Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Korea and Japan.

Responding to the results, Minister for Education Norma Foley welcomed the fact that Ireland had maintained its strong performance.

“This high performance reflects the commitment and hard work of our school communities but also the significant efforts that have been put into the national literacy and numeracy strategy, curricular review and redevelopment, the Stem education policy statement and the digital strategy for schools,” she said.

Headline results of Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (2019)

Fourth class: Maths

  1. Singapore
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Republic of Korea
  4. Chinese Taipei
  5. Japan
  6. Russian Federation
  7. Northern Ireland
  8. Ireland
  9. Latvia

Fourth class: Science

  1. Singapore
  2. Republic of Korea
  3. Russian Federation
  4. Japan
  5. Chinese Taipei
  6. Finland
  7. Latvia
  8. Norway
  9. United States
  10. Lithuania
  11. Sweden
  12. England
  13. Czech Republic
  14. Australia
  15. Hong Kong
  16. Poland
  17. Hungary
  18. Ireland

Second year: Maths

  1. Singapore
  2. Chinese Taipei
  3. Republic of Korea
  4. Japan
  5. Hong Kong
  6. Russian Federation
  7. Ireland
  8. Lithuania

Second year: Science

  1. Singapore
  2. Chinese Taipei
  3. Japan
  4. Republic of Korea
  5. Russian Federation
  6. Finland
  7. Lithuania
  8. Hungary
  9. Australia
  10. Ireland

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