TIMSS & PISA data for Malaysia

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one of the classrooms I taught in, Nov 2015

This project is an attempt to promote and facilitate the use of TIMSS and PISA microdata among scholars of Malaysian education. I started it in early 2016, during a fellowship at the Penang Institute in Kuala Lumpur. All analysis in this project uses SPSS, the most widely used statistical package among Malaysian social scientists.

This project comprises:

  • a guide to analysing TIMSS and PISA data for Malaysia, including descriptions of the datasets and detailed examples of SPSS syntax for analysis
  • one SPSS dataset each for TIMSS and PISA, cleaning and merging the data across all test cycles and respondents (TIMSS: students, science and maths teachers, principals; PISA: students, principals)
  • a codebook describing all the variables in the combined datasets
  • the SPSS syntax I used for cleaning and merging the TIMSS and PISA datasets
  • a slideshow from a workshop I conducted on using SPSS macros to analyse TIMSS and PISA data

These datasets and documents are an ongoing project. I will amend them when necessary; and I plan to update the datasets when new cycles of TIMSS and PISA data are released.

I welcome feedback on these materials, which can be submitted through this form. The form also gives you the option of being put in contact with other researchers using Malaysian TIMSS and PISA data.


Note: If you’re interested in TIMSS and PISA data for other countries, you can use the IEA IDB Analyzer to generate SPSS syntax for analysing these datasets instead. Download the IDB Analyzer for free by creating an account here, or see here for an overview of how to use it.

  • Even if you do use the IDB Analyzer, you may find it useful to read the ‘Introduction to TIMSS and PISA’ section in my guide.
  • Advantages of the analysis method described in my guide:
    • all the data for Malaysia have been merged across different test cycles, so you can analyse multiple years at once
    • my codebook streamlines information about different variables from the original codebooks, questionnaires, and technical reports
  • Advantages of the IDB Analyzer:
    • can analyse data from other countries and studies (e.g. TALIS)
    • no need to write your own syntax


Please note that use of this guide, the combined codebook and datasets for Malaysia, or my SPSS syntax should be cited. Suggested citation: Hwa Yue-Yi, 2016, Guide and combined datasets for Malaysian TIMSS and PISA analysis, https://hwayueyi.wordpress.com/timss-pisa/.

All TIMSS and PISA data and and official publications are the copyrighted property of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and the OECD, respectively. TIMSS data and documentation are published by the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, in various years. PISA data and documentation are published by the OECD, in various years.

Statistical analysis in project uses IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 22.0, which is © IBM Corp and was released in 2013.