The Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 1999 Video Study was conducted to investigate and describe Year 8 mathematics and science teaching practices in a variety of countries. This Australian report of the science component of the study includes many of the international results, but focuses on making comparisons and commentary from an Australian perspective. The study confirms that there is more than one way to successfully teach science. The results showed that teachers in the participating countries used a variety of teaching methods and combined them in different ways – providing several perspectives on effective teaching. The participating countries shared some common features, but each was also found to have some distinctive characteristics. The study provides strong endorsement for the quality of science teaching as exemplified in the sample of Australian Year 8 science lessons when these lessons are compared with lessons from other high achieving countries (particularly Japan). The Australian lessons were characterised by a core pedagogical approach that involved gathering and analysing data through independent practical activity to develop ideas in an inquiry mode. The Australian lessons also commonly made connections between ideas and real-life experiences and issues. Given this core approach and that the science teachers were well trained and mostly well resourced, there were good opportunities for Australian students to achieve the stated goals of the science curriculum and to develop aspects of scientific literacy.
Lokan, Jan; Hollingsworth, Hilary; and Hackling, Mark, "Teaching Science in Australia : Results from the TIMSS 1999 Video Study" (2006).