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Highlights From the TIMSS 1999 Video Study of Eighth-Grade Science Teaching


"This report presents key findings from the 1999 Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) Video Study of eighth-grade science teaching in five countries: Australia, Czech Republic, Japan, Netherlands, and the United States. The TIMSS 1999 Video Study is a follow-up and expansion of the TIMSS 1995 Video Study. The study is the first attempt to examine eighth-grade science lessons as they are actually delivered to students. The data presented focus on three basic questions: How did the teacher organize the lesson to support students' opportunities to learn science? How was science represented to students in the lesson? What opportunities did students have to participate in science learning activities? The science lessons videotaped in the five countries display similarities and differences, with each country revealing a general approach to the teaching of science in the eighth grade. In general, the data suggest that, in the Czech Republic, science teaching can be characterized as whole-class events that focused on getting the content right; in the Netherlands science lessons focused on students' independent learning of the science content; Japanese eighth-grade science lessons typically focused on developing a few physics and chemistry ideas by making connections between ideas and evidence through an inquiry-oriented, inductive approach in which data were collected and interpreted to build up to a main idea or conclusion; in Australia, lessons tended to focus on developing a limited number of ideas by making connections between ideas and evidence; and, in the United States, eighth-grade science lessons were characterized by a variety of activities that may engage students in doing science work, with less focus on connecting these activities to the development of science content ideas. The report is accompanied by a CD-ROM of video clips illustrating key factors examined in the study."