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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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The German Sample The German TIMSS sample for Population 2 consisted of a stratified random sample of 153 schools (of which 150 were eligible for participation) drawn from all states except Baden-Wuerthemberg. Sampling strata were defined by state, school type, distribution frequencies of each school type in each state, and classroom size. The random sampling of the schools was carried out by the Statistical Institutes of the German States. The four main participating school types were Gymnasium, Realschule, Hauptschule, and Integrierte Gesamtschule. Gymnasium is the highest academic track of schools. Gymnasium runs from 5th grade through 13th grade. Graduates of the Gymnasium are eligible to attend university. Realschule is the middle-level track. Realschule extends through 10th grade. Hauptschule is the lowest track, running through 9th grade. Graduates of Hauptschule are eligible to enter vocational schools. Integrierte Gesamtschule are relatively uncommon. In these schools, the three tracks are integrated into a single building, though the curricula and classes are still separate. A few schools, in the former East Germany, were not of these main types: Regelschule are combinations of Realschule and Hauptshule in a single building; Realschulldasse and Hauptschulldasse are special classes within schools that have modified curricula.

The schools for the video study were selected as follows: First, 100 schools were randomly sampled from the list of 153 schools originally sampled for the TIMSS study. Of these 100 schools, 15 refused to be videotaped. As schools declined, one of the main TIMSS replacement schools for the refusing school was selected to participate in its place. The breakdown of the final sample according to type of school is shown in figure 1. Within each school, the eighth-grade classroom that participated in the TIMSS assessments was selected for videotaping.

As in the United States, German teachers were paid a modest stipend for their participation.

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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 Japanese Sample The Japanese TIMSS sample for Population 2 consisted of 158 schools. One-hundred and fifty of the schools were public and eight were private.

Public schools were selected by stratified random sampling. First, two factorssize of the school (small, medium, large) and size of the city (small, medium, large)were used to classify Population 2 schools.

Small schools were defined as having 8 to 40 students enrolled in eighth grade, medium schools 41 to 160 students, and large schools, over 160 students. Small cities were defined as having a population of fewer than 50,000, medium cities between 50,000 and one million, and large cities one million or more.

Because no school fell into the large school/small city stratum, sampling was based on eight strata.

Schools were randomly selected from each stratum in proportion to the total number of schools in the stratum. Private schools were randomly selected from among the population of private schools in Japan.

-11 One third of the schools in the TIMSS sample were then randomly selected within each stratum for the video study, yielding a sample size of 50. Of these 50 schools, two declined to participate. Each of these was replaced by randomly selecting another school within the same stratum.

One eighth-grade classroom was selected from each school. In the event the mathematics teacher assigned to this classroom declined to participate in the video study, the particular class/teacher was never replaced by another eighth-grade classroom in the same school. Instead, another school within the same stratum replaced the entire school.

Of the schools that participated in the videotape study, all but one school participated in the main TIMSS study as well. However, during the selection of classrooms to be videotaped, a deviation from the original plan to test TIMSS classrooms arose. Because NIER did not want to overburden the teachers, videotaping was usually done in a different class from the one in which testing for the main study was conducted, unless there was only one eighth-grade classroom in the school. When there was a choice, the principal of each school chose the classroom in which the videotape study occurred. Although it is unlikely that there are significant student achievement differences between the main TIMSS classroom and the classroom chosen for the videotape study, it is possible that there are differences in teacher characteristics. It should be kept in mind that Japanese principals exercised discretion in the choice of classrooms to be videotaped.

Participating schools and teachers were offered a small token of appreciation for their participation by the U.S. government. Each teacher also received a videotape of his or her teaching.

Sampling Time in the School Year Our goal was to spread the videotaping out evenly over the school year. In Germany and the United States we accomplished this goal by employing a single videographer in each country to tape over an 8month period, firom October 1994 through May 1995. Unfortunately, we were not able to implement the same plan in Japan. Because the school year begins in April in Japan, following a schedule analogous to the other two countries would have meant starting in June and taping through December.

Unfortunately, this schedule was not possible due to the need to coordinate the videotaping with the test administration. The result was that videotaping in Japan had to be compressed primarily into a 4-month period, from November 1994 through February 1995, with a few lessons taped in March. The distribution of videotaping over time in each country is presented in figure 2.

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Unfortunately, the consequence of taping only during the second half of the Japanese school year is made more problematic by the near-universal adherence in Japan to a national curriculum. In most eighth-grade classrooms in Japan, the first half of the school year is devoted to algebra, the second half to geometry Thus, our sample in Japan is skewed toward geometry. Although this is a limitation of the study, we did try to diminish the problem by sampling five additional algebra lessons during the next Japanese school year. These lessons were included in the subsample for the math content group, described here, though they were not included in the main analyses.

Subsample for the Math Content Group A subsample of 30 videotaped lessons was selected from each country for in-depth content analysis by a group of mathematicians and mathematics educators. (This group is described in more detail in appendix C.) This total of 90 tapes was selected as follows: first, lessons in the video study were categorized as being primarily geometry or primarily algebra (broadly defined to include advanced topics in arithmetic). Then, 15 algebra and 15 geometry tapes were chosen randomly from each country to constitute the subsample.

The 15 algebra tapes from Japan included 5 that were sampled later in an attempt to remedy the overrepresentation of geometry in the sample (see section above on "Sampling Time in the School Year").

These tapes were obtained by proportionally randomly choosing 5 schools of the 50 that participated in the video study, and then choosing a different teacher (i.e., one not already videotaped teaching geometry) to be videotaped teaching algebra.


Additional Tapes for Public Use Because participants in the video study were guaranteed confidentiality, videotapes collected in the study cannot be shown publicly. However, because we believe that video examples will be extremely useful for communicating the results of the study, we decided to collect five tapes in each country that could be used for this purpose. For these tapes, we obtained written releases from the teachers and from the parents of students appearing in the tapes.

It is not easy to find teachers who will agree to being videotaped for public viewing; one cannot simply select such teachers at random. In the United States, we relied on networks of friends and contacts to identify teachers for public taping, hoping that the teachers who agreed to participate would be representative of those included in the large study sample. German and U.S. public use tapes were not included in the analyses presented. In Japan, in accordance with the preference of our collaborators, public use tapes were selected from among the main study tapes, and permission to use the tapes publicly was secured after the fact.


We primarily collected two kinds of data in the video study: videotapes and questionnaires. We also collected supplementary materials (e.g., copies of textbook pages or worksheets) deemed helpful for understanding the lesson. Each classroom was videotaped once on a date convenient for the teacher. One complete lessonas defined by the teacherwas videotaped in each classroom.

Teachers were initially contacted by a project coordinator in each country who explained the goals of the study and scheduled the date and time for videotaping. Because teachers knew when the taping was to take place, we knew they would attempt to prepare in some way for the event. In order to cut down somewhat on the variability in preparation methods across teachers we gave teachers in each country a

common set of instructions. Teachers were told the following:

Our goal is to see what typically happens in [U.S. or German or Japanese] mathematics classrooms, so we really want to see exactly what you would have done had we not been videotaping. Although you will be contacted ahead of time, and you will know the exact date and time that your classroom will be videotaped, we ask that you not make any special preparations for this class. So please, do not make special materials, or plan special lessons, that would not typify what normally occurs in your classroom. Also, please do not prepare your students in any special way for this class. Do not, for example, practice the lesson ahead of time with your students.

On the appointed day the videographer arrived at the school and videotaped the lesson. After the taping each teacher was given a questionnaire and an envelope in which to return it. The purpose of the questionnaire was to assess how typical the lesson was according to the teacher and to gather contextual information important for understanding the contents of the videotape. Both taping procedures and questionnaire contents are described in more detail.

Field Test All procedures were tested in a field test, which was conducted in spring 1994. For the field test we collected nine videotapes from each country, together with all of the supplementary data. In addition to testing procedures of data collection, field test tapes were used to help in development of coding and analysis methods, as described more fully here. A full report of the field test may be found in Stigler & Fernandez (1995).


The success of any video survey will hinge on the quality, informativeness, and comparability of the tapes collected. What we see on a videotape results not only from what transpires in the classroom but also from the way the camera is used. If our aim is to compare certain aspects of instruction, then we must make sure that these aspects are clearly captured on all the tapes. In addition, we want to make sure that we are comparing classroom instruction and not camera habits. There are many decisions that must be made by the camera operator; if these are not made in a standardized manner, then the resulting tapes will not be comparable across classrooms or countries.

We developed procedures for camera use in collaboration with Scott Rankin, an experienced videographer who had worked with us in previous projects and who, therefore, was familiar with the challenges of documenting classroom instruction. Our goal was to develop a set of general principles and rules of thumb that would be relatively simple for our videographers to learn, yet comprehensive enough to apply in any classroom situation.

We should note at the outset that we decided to use one camera per taping instead of two, which made it impossible to see all of the students in a class. This constraint was based on budget considerations, although it also simplified the process of coding and analysis. Consequently this study did not collect detailed information on student behavior.

In the following sections we describe the procedures used for videotaping classroom instruction; our method for training videographers to use the procedures consistently; and an evaluation of the success of our training by comparing camera use across our three videographers.

Basic Principles for Documenting Classroom Lessons Because we wanted to see each lesson in its entirety, all videotaping was done in real time: The,--cam- era was turned on at the beginning of the class, and not turned off until the lesson was ovenThis means that we can study the duration of classroom activities by measuring their length on the videotape.

Obviously, this would not be possible if there were any gaps in the recording.

Classrooms are complex environments where much is going on at any given time; it is impossible to document everything, particularly when only one camera is used. We decided on two principles to guide videographers in their choices of where to point the camera. These principles yield a comprehensive view of the lesson being taped.

Principle #1: Document the perspective of an ideal student. Assume the perspective of an ideal student in the class, then point the camera toward that which should be the focus of the ideal student at any given time. An ideal student is one who is always attentive to the lesson at hand and always occupied with the learning tasks assigned by the teacher. An ideal student will attend to individual work when assigned to work alone, will attend to the teacher when he or she addresses the class, and will attend to peers when they ask questions or present their work or ideas to the whole class. In other words we chose to point the camera so as to capture the experience of a student who is paying attention to the lesson as it unfolds. In cases where different students in the same class are engaged in different activities, the ideal student is assumed to be doing whatever the majority of students are doing.

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