Highlights from the TIMSS 1999 video study of eighth grade science teaching


The results of the TIMSS 1999 Video Study of eighth-grade science teaching suggest different country-specific patterns of eighth-grade science teaching in each of the participating countries and highlight the role of content and a core instructional approach in the relatively higher-achieving countries. Despite some commonalities across the countries, each of the countries, including the four higher-achieving countries, had a distinct approach to science teaching, providing students with different opportunities to learn science and different visions of what it means to understand science. The countries varied in the organizational features, content features, and the ways in which students were involved in actively doing science work in the science lessons. Thus, no single approach was shared by the four higher-achieving countries, but science lessons in the higher-achieving countries were all characterized by a core instructional approach that included a consistent instructional and content organization strategy that held students to some type of high content standards. Eighth-grade science lessons in the United States were also observed to have a core instructional approach, but that approach focused on variety rather than consistency in the science lessons. Although students were exposed to a variety of organizational structures, variety of content, and variety of activities, these features were not typically used to develop content ideas in ways that would make the science content storyline visible, coherent, and challenging for eighth-grade students.