«SE 062 649 ED 431 621 Stigler, James W.; Gonzales, Patrick; Kwanaka, Takako; AUTHOR Knoll, Steffen; Serrano, Ana The TIMSS Videotape Classroom Study: ...»
SE 062 649
ED 431 621
Stigler, James W.; Gonzales, Patrick; Kwanaka, Takako;
Knoll, Steffen; Serrano, Ana
The TIMSS Videotape Classroom Study: Methods and Findings
from an Exploratory Research Project on Eighth-Grade
Mathematics Instruction in Germany, Japan, and the United
States. A Research and Development Report.
National Center for Education Statistics (ED), Washington,
REPORT NO NCES-1999-074 PUB DATE 1999-02-00 180p.; "With the assistance of Eric Derghazarian, Gundala NOTE Huber, Fumiko Ichiocka, and Nicole Kersting."
Web site: http://nces.ed.gov/timss
AVAILABLE FROMReports Research (143)
PUB TYPEMF01/PC08 Plus Postage.
EDRS.PRICE *Comparative Education; *Cross Cultural Studies; Foreign
DESCRIPTORSCountries; Grade 8; Junior High Schools; *Mathematics Instruction; Teaching Methods IDENTIFIERS Germany; Japan; *Third International Mathematics and Science Study; United States
NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATION STATISTICSResearch and Development Report February 1999 The TIMSS Videotape
Methods and Findings from an Exploratory
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONOffice of Educational Research and Improvement
,EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES INFORMATIONCENTER (ERIC) document has been reproduced as received from the person or organization originating it.
Methods and Findings from an Exploratory Research Project on Eighth-Grade Mathematics Instruction in Germany, Japan, and the United States
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EST COPY MARLA it LE Foreword
The Research and Development (R&D) series of the reports has been initiated:
1. To share studies and research that are developmental in nature. The results of such studies may be revised as the work continues and additional data become available.
2. To share results of studies that are, to some extent, on the "cutting-edge" of methodological developments. Emerging analytical approaches and new computer software development often permits new, and sometimes controversial, analysis to be done. By participating in "frontier research," we hope to contribute to the resolution of issues and improved analysis.
3. To participate in discussions of emerging issues of interest to educational researchers, statisticians, and the Federal statistical community in general. Such reports may document workshops and symposiums sponsored by NCES that address methodological and analytical issues or may share and discuss issues regarding NCES practice, procedures, and standards.
EST COPY AVATIABILIEE ecuti Summar This report presents the methods and preliminary findings of the Videotape Classroom Study, a video survey of eighth-grade mathematics lessons in Germany, Japan, and the United States. This exploratory research project is part of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). It is the first to collect videotaped records of classroom instructionin any subjectfrom national probability samples.
OBJECTIVES The Videotape Classroom Study had four goals:
Provide a rich source of information regarding what goes on inside eighth-grade mathematics classes in the three countries.
Develop objective observational measures of classroom instruction to serve as valid quantitative indicators, at a national level, of teaching practices in the three countries.
Compare actual mathematics teaching methods in the United States and the other countries with those recommended in current reform documen6 and with teachers' perceptions of those recommendations.
Assess the feasibility of applying videotape methodology in future wider-scale national and international surveys of classroom instructional practices.
SCOPE AND METHODSThe study sample included 231 eighth-grade mathematics classrooms: 100 in Germany, 50 in Japan, and 81 in the United States. The three samples were selected from among the schools and classrooms participating in the 1994-95 TIMSS assessments. They were designed as a nationally representative sample of eighth-grade students in the three countries, although, as will be explained later, some minor deviations arose.
One lesson was videotaped in each classroom at some point during the school year. The specific date for videotaping was determined in consultation with the school and the teacher in order to minimize conflicts with special events such as field trips or school holidays, and to minimize the videographers' travel expenses. Tapes were encoded and stored digitally on CD-ROM and were accessed and analyzed using multimedia database software developed especially for this project. All lessons were transcribed and then analyzed on a number of dimensions by teams of coders who were native speakers of the three languages. Analyses presented here are based on weighted data. The analyses focused on the content and organization of the lessons, as well as on the instructional practices used by teachers during the lessons.
FINDINGSThe video data are vast and will continue to provide rich analysis opportunities for researchers. The findings reported here, while preliminary, reveal a number of differences in instructional practices across the three cultures. These differences fall into four broad categories: (1) How lessons are structured and delivered; (2) What kind of mathematics is presented in the lesson; (3) What kind of mathematical thinking students are engaged in during the lesson; and (4) How teachers view reform.
How Lessons are Structured and Delivered To understand how lessons are structured it is important first to know what teachers intend students to learn from the lessons. Information gathered from teachers in the video study indicate an important cross-cultural difference in lesson goals. Solving problems is the end goal for the U.S. and German teachers: How well students solve problems is the metric by which success is judged. In Japan, problem solving is assumed to play a different role. Understanding mathematics is the overarching goal;
problem solving is merely the context in which understanding can best grow.
Following this difference in goals, we can begin to identify cultural differences in the scripts teachers in each country use to generate their lessons. These different scripts are probably based on different assumptions about the role of problem solving in the lesson, about the way students learn from instruction, and about what the proper role of the teacher should be.
Although the analyses are preliminary, there appears to be a clear distinction between the U.S. and German scripts, on one hand, and the Japanese script, on the other. U.S. and German lessons tend to have two phases: an initial acquisition phase and a subsequent application phase. In the acquisition phase, the teacher demonstrates and/or explains how to solve an example problem. The explanation might be purely procedural (as most often happens in the United States) or may include development of concepts (more often the case in Germany). Yet still, the goal in both countries is to teach students a method for solving the example problem(s). In the application phase, students practice solving examples on their own while the teacher helps individual students who are experiencing difficulty.
Japanese lessons appear to follow a different script. Whereas in German and U.S. lessons instruction comes first, followed by application, in Japanese lessons the order of activity is generally reversed. Problem solving comes first, followed by a time in which students reflect on the problem, share the solution methods they have generated, and jointly work to develop explicit understandings of the underlying mathematical concepts. Whereas students in the U.S. and German classrooms must follow the teacher as he
or she leads them through the solution of example problems, the Japanese student has a different job:
to invent his or her own solutions, then reflect on those solutions in an attempt to increase understanding.
In addition to these differences in goals and scripts, we also find differences in the coherence of lessons in the three countries. The greatest differences are between U.S. lessons and Japanese lessons. U.S.
lessons are less coherent than Japanese lessons if coherence is defined by several criteria: U.S. lessons are more frequently interrupted, both from outside the classroom and within; U.S. lessons contain more topicswithin the same lessonthan Japanese lessons; Japanese teachers are more likely to provide explicit links or connections between different parts of the same lesson.
What Kind of Mathematics is Presented Looking beyond the flow of the lessons, we also find cross-cultural differences in the kind of mathematical content that is presented in the lessons. When viewed in comparison to the content of lessons in the 41 TIMSS countries, the average eighth-grade U.S. lesson in the video sample deals with mathematics at the seventh-grade level by international standards, whereas in Japan the average level is ninthgrade. The content of German lessons averages at the eighth-grade level.
vi The quality of the content also differs across countries. For example, most mathematics lessons include some mixture of concepts and applications of those concepts to solving problems. How concepts are presented, however, varies a great deal across countries. Concepts might simply be stated, as in "the Pythagorean theorem states that a2 + 132 = c2," or they might be developed and derived over the course of the lesson. More than three-fourths of German and Japanese teachers develop concepts when they include them in their lessons, compared with about one-fifth of U.S. teachers. None of the U.S. lessons include proofs, whereas 10 percent of German lessons and 53 percent of Japanese lessons include proofs.
Finally, as part of the video study, an independent group of U.S. colege mathematics teachers evaluated the quality of mathematical content in a sample of the video lessons. They based their judgments on a detailed written description of the content that was altered for each lesson to disguise the country of origin (deleting, for example, references to currency). They completed a number of in-depth analyses, the simplest of which involved making global judgments of the quality of each lesson's content on a three-point scale (Low, Medium, High). (Quality was judged according to several criteria, including the coherence of the mathematical concepts across different parts of the lesson, and the degree to which deductive reasoning was included.) Whereas 39 percent of the Japanese lessons and 28 percent of the German ones received the highest rating, none of the U.S. lessons received the highest rating. Eightynine percent of U.S. lessons received the lowest rating, compared with 11 percent of Japanese lessons.
The Kind of Mathematical Thinking in Which Students are Engaged When we examine the kind of work students engage in during the lesson we find a strong resemblance between Germany and the United States, with Japan looking distinctly different. Three types of work were coded in the video study: Practicing Routine Procedures, Applying Concepts to Novel Situations, and Inventing New Solution Methods/Thinking. Ninety-six percent of student working time in Germany and 90 percent in the United States is spent in practicing routine procedures, compared with 41 percent in Japan. Japanese students spend 44 percent of their time inventing new solutions that require conceptual thinking about mathematics.