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Bianchi Richard G. The goal of TIMSS is to measure student aehievement in mathematies and seienee in partieipating eountries and to assess some of the eurrieular and elassroom faetors that are related to student learning in these subjeets. The study is intended to provide edueators and poliey makers with an unparal- leled and multidimensional perspeetive on mathematies and seienee eurrieula; their implemen- tation; the nature of student performanee in mathematies and seienee; and the soeial, eeonom- ie, and edueational eontext in whieh these oeeur.
Much more than documents.
TIMSS foeuses on student learning and aehievement in mathematies and seienee at three different age levels, or populations. In addition. Population 2 was the eore of TIMSS and sampling these students was required of all par- tieipating eountries.
TIMSS was guided by the following questions: 1. What are students expeeted to learn? Who delivers the instruetion? How is instruetion organized? What have students learned? Eaeh aspeet of the TIMSS projeet — the eurrieulum analysis, the eontext questionnaire surveys, and the student assessments — was designed to address one or more of these four foeal questions.
An analysis of seienee and mathematies textbooks and eurrieulum guides used in the partieipating eountries, along with a questionnaire administered to subjeet matter experts, provided data deseribing what students in the partieipating eountries are expeeted to learn aeeording to national or regional edueational goals. Results from a preliminary analysis of early eurrieulum data were used to ereate the TIMSS eurrieulum frameworks and to seleet the topies to be ineluded in the aehievement tests.
The eurrieulum analysis, a portion of whieh is presented in this volume, will also provide invaluable information for interpreting the aehievement results. How is instruction organized?
Questionnaires were designed to address these questions as well as to provide information on the hypothesized eorrelates of aehievement and about the soeial and eeonomie eontexts in whieh learning is taking plaee. The first questionnaire dealt with the strueture of the sehool system, student ages and grades, and the sehool ealendar.
The mathematies and seienee teaehers of the seleeted students; and 3. The prineipals of the sehools eontaining the seleeted students. A teacher questionnaire was administered to the teachers of Population 1 and 2 students only. Finally, a school questionnaire was completed by the appropriate school adminis- trator in each participating school. Assessment of student achievement in key mathematics and science topics at each of the focal student populations entails both multiple-choice and open-response items short answer and extended response.
The tests were constructed from specifications reflecting TIMSS cur- riculum frameworks and include items developed and reviewed by international experts.
At Populations 1 and 2, a subpopulation of sampled students participated in the performance assessment component of TIMSS.
This consisted of a range of hands-on mathematics and sci- ence tasks. The tasks were set up in stations by assessment staff.
Each station consisted of one or two tasks in mathematics, science, or a combination of both, with students attending three different stations with 30 minutes at each station to complete the designated activities. The present volume is the second report to come from the international curriculum analy- sis.
The first volume considered the mathematics curriculum for students across the many countries participating in TIMSS. The current volume considers the sciences curriculum intended for students. More detailed volumes that look specifically at textbooks for mathe- matics and the sciences will also be produced. These curriculum volumes should prove to be an invaluable resource for understanding and interpreting the results of the student assessments.
As is common with any research, there is a lag between the time data are collected and results are published. Most of the data presented represent what was available in countries in and with some data collected in and Some things have, no doubt, changed since then, and throughout the book the data are discussed with this in mind.
NSF and NCES pro- vided the funds for this resarch, but do not assume responsibility for the findings or their inter- pretations. The girl now observes birds visiting the feeder and records her observa- tions on a table that she has copied from her environment studies textbook.
Earlier, a group of year-old pupils in the Philippines followed the directions in their science and technology textbook for the construction of a model steam turbine. After completing this activity, they answered some questions on its operation in their textbook. In Spain, other year-old students complete exer- cises in their textbook solving different chemical reaction equations for the time it takes for each reagent to disappear given the time it takes the new compound to form.
In Germany, that evening, a teacher reviews her notes for the physics class she will teach the next day for students in their final year of sec- ondary school und compares them to the latest version of the official document guiding what she should present.
He compares his notes to the examples and problems in the textbook he purchased the previ- ous August. What do all these situations and others like them have in eommon? All involve ehildren. All involve the seienees.
All involve eurrieulum materials that students or teaehers use in some way during seienee instruetion. How are all these situations different? Most obviously, they differ in the sciences studied. Even when dealing with the same topic, they use different activities and materials to approach and explore the topic with children.
They differ in what was covered previously and in what students are expected to master at that time. They vary in how long lesions on that topic will continue, and in many other ways. The situations differ in how much class time is spent on a given subject, and how that time is spent.
How free teachers are to put their personal stamp on individual lessons also varies. The use of science textbooks, if any, varies.
Preparation differs in how explicitly official documents direct teachers in providing instruction. The situations dif- fer in the experiences science curriculum planners intended that children share.
They also vary in how they will be judged — in how the system will determine whether teachers and students successfully attained intended goals. Across the world, teachers and their students engage in the study of the sciences as they have for generations. It is widely believed that science is objective and universal, transcending national and cultural differences. But what students and teachers experience is not actual sci- entific investigation but school science.
School science is science as it is conceptualized, rep- resented, structured, and sequenced to share with the next generation through the common experiences of schooling. This monograph aims to explore this cultural aspect of science education by attempting, through an investiga- tion of curricula, to identify differences and similarities that underlay the curricula of school sci- ence of many countries.
Why Investigate Science Curricula? Each day in classrooms around the world, children and their teachers engage in some aspect of learning science. The cumulative effect of the experiences pupils share help mold them and help determine the eourse and quality of their lives.
Any set of sci- ence educational experiences will have some things in common and many things that vary among countries.
Some differences are deep; some are incidental. Separating the two is essen- tial to understanding better how children are educated in science. It is essential for seeking — within given cultural settings — more effective educational practices in schools, classrooms, and textbooks.
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Curriculum is the most fundamental structure for these experiences. It is a kind of underlying skeleton that gives characteristic shape and direction to science instruction in educational systems around the world. These experiences do not occur randomly or accidentally. The myriad details of classroom life often hide the fact that instructional activi- ties are intended to be planned and orderly implementations of the aims and intentions of edu- cational authorities and curriculum designers.
The plan that expresses these aims and inten- tions, that takes them from vision to implementation, that serves as the broad course that runs throughout formal schooling, is curriculum. Curriculum provides a basic outline of planned and sequenced educational opportunities.
No nation can thrive for long if it seriously fails to educate its children. Thus, no nation can afford to ignore curriculum — for the sciences or any other important subjects.
Curriculum must be understood, valued, and deliberately guided. In forming educational policy, educa- tional systems help shape the future of their children and their country.
In recognition of the central importance of curriculum in education, the Third International Mathematics and Science Study TIMSS includes large-scale cross-national analyses of sci- ence curricula as part of its examination of science education and its attainment in almost 50 nations. The TIMSS curriculum analysis investigates curriculum documents and the visions and aims on which they are based.
Earlier Studies Researchers have long been interested in curricular intentions, yet few have examined them and their relationships to national strategies for covering science topics.
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These studies illustrate some of the potential in investigat- ing eurrieular doeuments. The present eurrieulum analysis is a natural extension of the informal analyses of eurrieu- lum guides and textbooks found in earlier studies of the International Assoeiation for the Evaluation of Edueational Aehievement lEA.
Curriculum and Student Experience For about a century, curriculum has been understood in terms of student experiences in school.
Each such interaction creates an experience for each student. Each experience is personal and idio- syncratic for each student. It is these individual experiences that are the basics of schooling and curricular experience.
The variety and accumulation of these experiences for a student produce his or her educational attainments. Curriculum and teaching consistently reflect the desire to create sequences of common, shared experiences that result in desired attainments for as many students as possible. In this sense, experiences reflect educational intention and planning. These experiences, however, are also personal.
While these sets of experiences and their cumulative effect are the objects of curricular intentions and planning, they can, since they are personal and individ- ual, only be influenced partially and indirectly.