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«SE 062 649 ED 431 621 Stigler, James W.; Gonzales, Patrick; Kwanaka, Takako; AUTHOR Knoll, Steffen; Serrano, Ana The TIMSS Videotape Classroom Study: ...»

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How well do the specific codes we have described relate to these more global judgments? Correlations were calculated between specific indicators constructed by the Math Content Group and the group's overall ratings of content quality. The single highest predictor (Pearson r =.66) was the total number of codes on both nodes and links in a lesson divided by the total number of nodes in the lesson. The average of this index for Japanese lessons was 1.17, for German lessons,.60, and for U.S. lessons,.25. The differences between all pairs of countries were statistically significant.' In summary, we found a number of differences in the mathematical content of lessons across the three countries. Japanese lessons, in general, were found to be more advanced by international standards, and richer in content on several dimensions, than were U.S. lessons. German lessons tended to fall between the Japanese and U.S. lessons on some dimensions, or differed from the United States on one measure and from Japan on the next. We move, now, to consider how teachers presented content to students in the three countries.

° Standard errors for Germany, Japan, and the U.S. are 0.07, 0.16, and 0.05, respectively.

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An initial viewing of the videotapes suggests that the similarities among the eighth-grade classrooms we visited were more striking than the differences. Although we were videotaping in three highly distinct cultures, there was nevertheless considerable similarity in classroom arrangement in all countries.

In all three nations, classrooms typically contained one teacher and many students. All of the classrooms we visited contained chalkboards, and all contained individual desks for each student.

The arrangement of desks in the classrooms varied somewhat by country (see figure 35). In Japan, 94 percent of lessons had desks arranged in rows facing the front; the share was 77 percent in the United States and 67 percent in Germany. A substantial number of classrooms in Germany (22 percent) had desks arranged in a U-Shape configuration, with the open end of the U facing the front. (Most often, the inside of the U contained rows of desks facing the front of the room.) Some classrooms in each country had desks arranged in groups.

Figure 35 Arrangement of desks in German, Japanese, and U.S. classrooms Rows

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- 18

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SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Third International Mathematics and Science Study, Videotape Classroom Study, 1994-95.


Our first step in coding the videotapes was to mark the points at which the lesson itself began and ended. Videographers made a judgment about when to turn on the camera, but this was usually before the beginning of instruction proper. Similarly, the camera kept on rolling for a few minutes after the teacher ended the lesson. We needed a consistent way of coding the beginning and ending of the lesson because many of our outcome measures (e.g., duration of time devoted to some activity) are reported as a percentage of total lesson time. Obviously, these measures will be affected by the total measured duration of the lesson.

We divided each class into three segments: Pre-Lesson Activity, Lesson, and Post-Lesson Activity.

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The average duration of the lessons in our sample (subtracting out time devoted to pre- and postlesson activities) was 43.2 minutes in Germany, 49.5 minutes in Japan, and 49.4 minutes in the United States. German lessons were significantly shorter than those in Japan or the United States. In the United States the shortest lesson was 32.0 minutes, the longest, 91.2 minutes. The range in Germany was 34.2 to 49.4 minutes, and in Japan, 43.4 to 54.9 minutes.' Standard errors of the average duration of lessons in Germany, Japan, and the United States were 0.24, 0.35, and 1.92, respectively.


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In addition to the starting and ending points of the lesson, we also coded whenever there were interruptions from outside the classroom during the lesson. This included such events as announcements over the public address system or visitors who interrupted the lesson. These results are presented in figure

36. Such interruptions were never observed during the Japanese lessons but were relatively common during the U.S. lessons. Interruptions were significantly more likely to occur in U.S. and German lessons than in Japanese lessons.


Classwork and Seatwork Having marked the beginning and end of each lesson, our next step was to divide the lessons into organizational segments. Although in many respects lessons look quite different across the three cultures, teachers everywhere tend to divide their lessons into periods of classwork and periods of seatwork, and

it is not difficult to reliably code the beginnings and ends of these segments. We identified three distinct kinds of segments:

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Organizational segments were coded exhaustively, meaning that the end of one segment was the beginning of the next. Seatwork segments were further characterized as being individual, group, or both.

During individual seatwork segments students worked independently, by themselves; during group seatwork segments they worked in groups.

Results indicate that Japanese lessons contain considerably more organizational segments on average than do German or U.S. lessons (figure 37).

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SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Third International Mathematics and Science Study, Videotape Classroom Study, 1994-95.

As it turned out, very few of the segments in any country were coded as classwork/seatwork combinations, and these segments accounted for less than 1.5 percent of lesson time, on average. The bulk of the segments were either classwork or seatwork. Figure 38 shows the average number of classwork and seatwork segments per lesson in each country. Again, Japanese lessons contain the highest average number of segments of both types. There was no significant difference between U.S. and German lessons in this regard.

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SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Third International Mathematics and Science Study, Videotape Classroom Study, 1994-95.

The picture changes somewhat if we look at the percentage of time during the lesson that is spent in classwork and seatwork (figure 39). Here, Japan and the United States look quite similar, and Germany looks different. Japanese and U.S. teachers spend almost identical percentages of time in classwork (approximately 60 percent) and in seatwork (approximately 40 percent). German teachers spend a higher percentage of their lesson time in classwork (about 70 percent) than do teachers in the other two countries. Conversely, Japanese and U.S. teachers spend a higher percentage of their lesson time in seatwork than do German teachers.

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62.1 61.4 60.0 40.0 36.4 26.1 20.0

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SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Third International Mathematics and Science Study, Videotape Classroom Study, 1994-95.

While Japanese lessons have more organizational segments, the length of each segment is shorter in Japan than it is in Germany or the United States. Figure 40 shows the average duration in minutes of CLASSWORK and SEATWORK segments in each country. The average duration of SEATWORK segments in U.S. classrooms was significantly longer than in either German or Japanese classrooms. The average duration of CLASSWORK segments were significantly shorter in Japan than in either Germany' or the United States.

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8.5 7.9 5.8 5.5 6.0 3.0 0.0,, 1

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SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Third International Mathematics and Science Study, Videotape Classroom Study, 1994-95.

Moreover, analysis of the data shows that students in German classrooms spent a higher percentage of time working individually during SEATWORK than did students in Japanese classrooms (figure 41).

Students in Japan spent a higher percentage of time working in groups during SEATWORK than students in Germany or the United States.

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We also looked at patterns of seatwork within the lesson. In figure 42 we show the percentage of lessons in each country that include individual seatwork, group seatwork, both kinds of seatwork, or no seatwork. Although there was no significant difference across countries in the percentage of lessons containing only groupwork, a greater percentage of Japanese lessons contained both group and individual seatwork than did the German or U.S. lessons. German classrooms were more likely to have no seatwork than the Japanese or U.S. classrooms. Both German and U.S. classrooms contained a higher percentage of individual-only seatwork than Japanese classrooms.

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SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Third International Mathematics and Science Study, Videotape Classroom Study, 1994-95.

To summarize, Japanese teachers tend to change more frequently from classwork to seatwork and back again within the lesson than do German and U.S. teachers. And, they tend to alternate between seatwork segments where students work individually and those where students work in small groups. German teachers concentrate on classwork, and provide less variation in organization of interaction over the course of a lesson than do either Japanese or U.S. teachers. U.S. teachers resemble Japanese teachers in terms of the time they devote to seatwork, but look more like German teachers in terms of the less frequent change between classwork and seatwork.

Activity Segments Having coded lessons into segments of classwork and seatwork, we now proceed to the next layer.

Classwork and seatwork, after all, represent only the most superficial view of what happens in a mathematics lesson. What goes on during these segments, and what goals are teachers trying to achieve? Our next step was to further divide the lesson into activity segments.

What we call activity segments are segments of the lesson that serve some specific pedagogical function. Examples of such functions would be setting up for seatwork (i.e., getting students ready to work on their own), working on tasks, or sharing the results of seatwork. These kinds of activities appear in all cultures and can be defined in a cross-culturally valid way. They also are categories that map well onto teachers' views of how lessons are planned and implemented. In fact, teachers generally mark the


transitions between these activities with explicit words and actions. For example, a teacher might say, "Everyone get in your groups and do the problem I've written on the board." This marks a clear shift in activity, as well as a shift from classwork to seatwork.

We defined four major categories of activities: SETTING UP, WORKING ON, SHARING, and TEACHER TALK/DEMONSTRATION. The goal of SETTING UP segments is to prepare students for a subsequent seatwork segment. SETTING UP situations occur when the teacher assigns the task(s) and/or

situation(s) for students to work on independently during seatwork. We identified two subtypes of SETTING UP segments:

SETTING UP: MATHEMATICAL was coded when the teacher presented task(s) and/or situation(s) to the students with explanations or discussion; and SETTING UP: PHYSICAL/DIRECTIONAL was coded when the teacher presented students with task/situations without additional explanations or discussions. These segments usually included physical activities, such as moving into groups, passing out handouts, writing down task(s) and/or situation(s), and/or directions.

WORKING ON segments were the most common. Although WORKING ON was most commonly coded during periods of SEATWORK, it also could be coded during CLASSWORK. During CLASSWORK segments, WORKING ON occurred whenever the teacher and the students worked collaboratively on task(s) and/or situation(s), or derived/learned principles, properties, or definitions (PPDs). When the shift between SETTING UP and WORKING ON was not clearly identified, SETTING UP was included in the

WORKING ON segment. We coded four types of WORKING ON segments:

WORKING ON TASK/SITUATION was coded whenever the teacher and/or students worked on tasks and situations not included in the following three categories;

WORKING ON HOMEWORK. This included segments in which homework was assigned but not necessarily started;

WORKING ON TEST; and WORKING ON MULTIPLE ACTIVITIES was coded when the students were engaged in two or more assignments, such as checking homework answers and starting on a worksheet.

We coded SHARING segments when the activity focused on presenting, discussing, and reflecting on previously completed tasks and situations. The results might be shared in the form of teacher presentation, student presentation, interactive discussion, or visual representations. The segment began when the teacher expressed the intention of sharing the produced results, and it ended when there was a shift in activity that normally occurred in conjunction with a shift in content.

There were three kinds of SHARING segments, depending on what was being shared:


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