The TIMSS 1995 Videotape Classroom Study

In 1995, the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) included a Videotape Classroom Study.  This video study was an international videotape survey of eighth-grade mathematics lessons in Germany, Japan, and the United States. Funded by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the National Science Foundation, the 1995 video study was the first attempt to collect videotaped records of classroom instruction from nationally representative samples of teachers.  The study was conducted in a total of 231 classrooms in Germany, Japan, and the United States and used multimedia database technology to manage and analyze the videos.

The Videotape Classroom Study had four goals:

• To provide a rich source of information regarding what goes on inside eighth-grade mathematics classes in the three countries;
• To develop objective observational measures of classroom instruction to serve as quantitative indicators, at a national level, of teaching practices in the three countries;
• To compare actual mathematics teaching methods in the United States and the other countries with those recommended in current reform documents and with teachers’ perceptions of those recommendations;
• To assess the feasibility of applying videotape methodology in future wider-scale national and international surveys of classroom instructional practices.

For the report on the methods and findings of the Videotape Classroom Study, click here.

Example lessons from the TIMSS 1995 Video Study were made available in the form of video vignettes of six eighth-grade lessons, two each from Germany, Japan, and the United States. These example lessons were taught by teachers who volunteered to be videotaped for the project. The video vignettes were originally made available on a CD-ROM: Video Examples from the TIMSS Videotape Classroom Study: Eighth Grade Mathematics in Germany, Japan, and the United States (NCES 98092). Now they are all available for viewing through the links below.

U.S. Lesson 1: Complex Algebraic Expressions

After some warm-up problems, the teacher presents the problem 1/(x - 7) + 1/(x2 - 49) and asks students to find the least common denominator. After explaining the correct way to solve the problem the teacher assigns multiple tasks for seatwork, and students work on their own for the rest of the lesson.