About MaRWA

Learning mathematics is a key fundamental in every education system that aims to prepare its citizens for a productive life in the 21st century. As a nation, the development of a highly-skilled and well-educated manpower is critical to support an innovation- and technology-driven economy. A strong grounding in mathematics and a talent pool in mathematics are essential to support the wide range of value-added economic activities and innovations. Many countries are paying attention to the quality of their mathematics education.

making sense of information in the newspaper to making informed decisions about personal finances. It supports learning in many fields of study, whether it is in the sciences or in business. A good understanding of basic mathematics is essential wherever calculations, measurements, graphical interpretations and statistical analysis are necessary. The learning of mathematics also provides an excellent vehicle to train the mind, and to develop the capacity to think logically, abstractly, critically and creatively. These are important 21st century competencies that we must imbue in our students, so that they can lead a productive life and be life-long learners.

The quality of mathematics education in Southeast Asia region varies but mostly is unsatisfactory with the exception of that of Singapore. This claim is mostly based on the result of the international achievement tests such as PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) and TIMSS (Trends in Mathematics and Science Study). Table 1 shows the evident from International Achievement Assessments, namely TIMSS. It is clearly shown that the science and mathematics achievements in Southeast Asia with the exception of Singapore are still below the International Average scores.

Table 1. TIMSS International Mathematics Scores for 8 graders





Avg. Scale Score


(Out of 49)

Avg. Scale Score


(Out of 46)

Avg. Scale Score


(Out of 38)


593 (3.8)


605 (3.6)


604 (6.3)



474 (5.0)


508 (4.1)


519 (4.4)



441 (5.0)


467 (5.1)



405 (4.6)


411 (4.8)


403 (4.9)


It was suggested during a meeting at SEAMEO RECSAM that all 11 SEAMEO member countries to take part in TIMSS in 2015. However, SEAMEO QITEP Mathematics proposed the development of a home grown Region Wide Assessment system, namely Mathematics Regional Wide Assessment (MaRWA) for the region.  The Mathematics Regional Wide Mathematics Assessment (MaRWA) project aims to gather the relevant data on Year 5 and Year 8 students’ competencies and readiness in learning mathematics in SEAMEO member countries. It is hoped that through the RWA project the Centre will be able to provide relevant training for mathematics teachers in the region. More specifically goals of MaRWA are to:-

  1. improves the teaching and learning of mathematics in the Southeast Asian region,
  2. determines the extent of students’ understanding of mathematics concepts,
  3. diagnoses the strength /weakness of student learning, and
  4. provide input for regional Centre on the nature and direction of teacher training.

MaRWA’s Stages:

  1. Conception and Formulation of MaRWA in 2011,
  2. MaRWA item test development in 2012,
  3. MaRWA item test piloting in selected SEA countries in 2013
  4. Extended Try-out of  MaRWA  at  some  schools  in Southeast Asia countries in 2014,
  5. Workshop on MaRWA Data Analysis 2015
  6. Seminar MaRWA 2015
  7. Data analysis of MaRWA was done and the results were disseminated through seminars and were reported during the SEAMEO High Official of Basic Education Meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia in June 2015