Module 1:
Framing the Dialogue

OVERVIEW

Module 1 is a 2 to 2.5 hour introduction to TIMSS and to the NRC report, Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education. The module’s purpose is to engage participants with the key findings of the report and to help them recognize the value of TIMSS as a catalyst for improvement. Although this module will conclude with a consideration of action that can be taken, it is necessary to complete Module 2 and spend considerable time on Module 3 before an action plan can be completed and improvement efforts begun.

Module 1 is designed to be used either as a self-contained unit or as the introductory material to Modules 2 and 3. As a self-contained unit, Module 1 has as its target audience school and higher education administrators, state education staff, legislators and legislative aides, parents, and the interested public. As an introduction to more in-depth, follow-up sessions, Module 1’s target audience is school and district administrators and teachers and higher education administrators and faculty.

GOALS

  • To provide an overview of the key messages and findings of the Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. and Mathematics and Science Education report and the implications for different audiences.

  • To highlight the value of using TIMSS as a catalyst for mathematics and science education improvement.

ACTIVITIES

1.1 Overview of Goals and Agenda (5 minutes)

1.2 Corners (15 minutes)



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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Module 1: Framing the Dialogue OVERVIEW Module 1 is a 2 to 2.5 hour introduction to TIMSS and to the NRC report, Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education. The module’s purpose is to engage participants with the key findings of the report and to help them recognize the value of TIMSS as a catalyst for improvement. Although this module will conclude with a consideration of action that can be taken, it is necessary to complete Module 2 and spend considerable time on Module 3 before an action plan can be completed and improvement efforts begun. Module 1 is designed to be used either as a self-contained unit or as the introductory material to Modules 2 and 3. As a self-contained unit, Module 1 has as its target audience school and higher education administrators, state education staff, legislators and legislative aides, parents, and the interested public. As an introduction to more in-depth, follow-up sessions, Module 1’s target audience is school and district administrators and teachers and higher education administrators and faculty. GOALS To provide an overview of the key messages and findings of the Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. and Mathematics and Science Education report and the implications for different audiences. To highlight the value of using TIMSS as a catalyst for mathematics and science education improvement. ACTIVITIES 1.1 Overview of Goals and Agenda (5 minutes) 1.2 Corners (15 minutes)

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide 1.3 Brief Overview of What TIMSS Is and of the Global Perspectives for Local Action Report (10 minutes) 1.4 What Does TIMSS Say about Student Achievement? (30 minutes) 1.5 A Walk Across the Data: Curriculum, Instruction, and School Support Systems (75 minutes) 1.6 Implications and Next Steps (15 minutes) Time: 2 to 2.5 hours. (If you have less time, particularly for audiences that are familiar with TIMSS, consider eliminating or shortening Activity 1.4 by quickly summarizing achievement results. This will cut 20–30 minutes. As an alternative or to shorten further, consider eliminating the video viewing activity embedded in Activity 1.5.) SET UP AND MATERIALS Room Arrangement and Equipment Tables for groups of four A room with plenty of wall space for posting newsprint Overhead projector and screen Video projection unit with screen or large monitor Newsprint and markers Paper for note-taking and pens/pencils, plus newsprint or transparencies and markers for recorders/reporters Order in Advance TIMSS Videotape: “Eighth-Grade Mathematics Lessons: United States, Japan, and Germany” (from the TIMSS “toolkit”). (Check with your school district’s science or math coordinator or local university’s school of education to borrow their Resource Kit or kit or contact the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250–7954; Phone: (202) 512– 1800; FAX: (202) 512–2250; URL: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/sale/prf/prf.html; e-mail: orders@gpo.gov. When ordering, ask for Attaining Excellence: A TIMSS Resource Kit, GPO # 065–000–01013–5.) Copies of the Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education report for each participant. (The report is available from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; Phone: (800) 624–6242 [toll free] or (202) 334–3313 [in the Washington Metropolitan area].)

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Make in Advance Overhead transparencies from masters for Module 1 in this guide (Note that the masters are labeled Slide 1–1, Slide 1–2, and so on…)2 Copies of handouts for this module (see pgs. 121–144) (one set for each participant) (Distribute these early in the session for the participants to use in taking notes.) Copies of Slides 1–11 through 1–23 (one set for each participant) Three pieces of newsprint, one labeled “Curriculum,” another labeled “Instruction,” and a third labeled “Professional Development and Use of Time.” Four poster-sized representations of data on Slides 1–20, 1–31, 1–41, and 1–47 copied on four pieces of colored paper, laminated if possible, and posted around the room (These also can be written on newsprint and posted.) FACILITATOR NOTES Activity 1.1 Overview of Goals and Agenda (5 minutes) Welcome participants and provide them with copies of all of the handouts for this module. Note in particular that the last handout explains the student populations tested and studied in TIMSS. Using Slide 1–1, tell participants that the NRC report, Global Perspectives for Local Action, addresses findings in the four areas highlighted on the slide. However, be sure to point out that there are many other factors that influence achievement beyond curriculum, instruction, and school support systems. Remind participants that TIMSS data provides an international perspective through which we can analyze the factors of curriculum, instruction, and school support. This session will help to frame a beginning dialogue around some of the major issues raised in each of these areas. With Slides 1–2 and 1–3, review the goals and agenda. Transition participants to the next segment by telling them they are about to go deeper inside the TIMSS findings and to reflect more on their implications for each of the audiences represented. Activity 1.2 Corners (15 minutes) Tell participants that the next activity is designed to engage them in the major areas of the report. 2   The source of data cited on masters is noted on the bottom of each master by title. For complete citations, see the “Resources” section of this guide.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Note the three posters placed on walls close to three corners of the room labeled “Curriculum,” “Instruction,” and “Professional Development and Use of Time” (one of the school support systems addressed in the NRC report). Briefly define each of these terms as they are used in the report. Ask participants to think about which factor they believe has the greatest influence on student learning and why. Allow 30 seconds or so for participants to think and make a decision about their choice. Using Slide 1–4, explain the “Corners” directions to participants, one step at a time. First, ask participants physically to move to the corner labeled with the term or factor they chose. Before they move, tell them that they are to find two to three other people in their corner to talk to about why they made that choice. After participants move, monitor the groups to make sure that they are speaking in small groups and that everyone has a chance to speak. (If the groups do not divide evenly, don’t be concerned. This only reflects the importance, or lack thereof, that they attribute to the three factors.) Allow 7–8 minutes for discussion. Then point out the factors participants considered more and less important (as indicated by their choices) and ask for one or two spokespeople from each group to summarize key points from their discussion. Ask participants to return to their seats. Transition by thanking the groups for their participation. Acknowledge that choosing any single factor as the main influence on student learning is impossible and that student learning is very complex and influenced by all of these factors. TIMSS does not provide us with magic bullets or simple causal links but, rather, with the opportunity to consider the complex interplay of the many factors that influence student achievement. Contrary to what one might think from reading the headlines, TIMSS goes far beyond an international comparison of student achievement in mathematics and science. Through case studies, surveys, and detailed studies of curriculum, TIMSS provides us with rich insights into the factors surrounding student achievement. The NRC report invites us to think about these factors anew with the benefit of an international perspective. In this session, we will briefly explore what TIMSS says about curriculum, instruction, and school support systems, but first it is important that we all become grounded in what TIMSS and the NRC report are. Activity 1.3 Brief Overview of What TIMSS Is and the Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education Report (10 minutes) Use Slides 1–5 through 1–9 to provide an overview of TIMSS and the NRC report. If participants want more information, direct them to Chapter 2 of the report. For your own preparation, read Chapters 1 and 2.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Transition by saying that we are now going to explore the NRC report’s perspective on the TIMSS student achievement findings. Activity 1.4 What Does TIMSS Say about Student Achievement? (30 minutes) In preparation for this and the next activity, you will have created newsprintsized posters of the selected achievement, curriculum, instruction, and school support systems findings that are illustrated by Slides 1–20, 1–31, 1–40, and 1–47, and you will have placed them around the room, ideally on the same wall. (Use the organizational configuration used in Slide 1–1.) You will have covered up these posters with additional pieces of blank newsprint until you are ready to present them. Provide participants with a little background on the achievement results. You may want to say something like the following: “In order to use TIMSS to help guide decision-making at the national, state, and local levels, we first need to understand the results. The data you are about to look at summarize several findings—the mathematics and science results for the fourth- and eighth-grade populations studied (Populations 1 and 2) and for the twelfth-grade population (Population 3). In Population 3, TIMSS tested students’ general scientific and mathematical knowledge and knowledge of physics, and advanced mathematics for students who took those courses.” (Use Slide 1–10 for background as you talk.) Give participants copies of Slides 1–11 through 1–23 and ask them to discuss the slides in groups of four. Or, if you prefer and are pressed for time, give a brief lecture on the same slides. After participants have seen the data, ask them in groups of four to discuss the questions on Slide 1–24. (Show Slide 1– 24.) Encourage participants to focus on observations rather than explanations or interpretations of the data.3 In the whole group, discuss the small groups’ observations. Uncover the large poster illustrating achievement results (the poster made from Slide 1– 20) and record key points from the small groups on the newsprint underneath the poster. 3   Participants may ask why some achievement results seem out of order, such as on Slide 1–14, where Sweden, with a score of 519, is grouped with the nations that are significantly higher than the U.S., and the first score in the next column is 522 (for Thailand). This is not an error. Although the country average for Sweden may appear to be out of place, statistically, its placement is correct. (On a more detailed level, note that each score is an estimate of how the entire country would perform based on a small sample of students actually tested. Statistically, it is possible to calculate the amount of error in the estimate and also to determine the “level (%) of confidence” that the reported score has within a given interval. For the data in Slide 1–14, there is a 95% confidence level that the score for Sweden is between 516 and 522. For the U.S., there is a 95% confidence level that the score is between 495 and 505. Since the two intervals do not overlap, there is a 95% confidence level that the scores of the two countries are different, with one being significantly higher than the other.)

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Summarize achievement findings, using Slide 1–25.4, 5 (Note: The summary slides used in each workshop module list some main points but are not exhaustive. Additional conclusions can often be found in the NRC TIMSS report based on the larger array of data found there and from conclusions that were reported in TIMSS-issued documents listed in the “Resources” section at the end of the guide.) Transition participants to the next segment by saying that we are now going to look at other aspects of the educational system that TIMSS examined in order to understand better these results within a larger context. The message here is that “there is no single lever for improving achievement; we are about to begin an exploration of the many complex and interconnected factors that influence student learning.” (Note: Several states, including Minnesota and Colorado, and some U.S. school districts, including those in the First in the World Consortium, have their own local TIMSS achievement data. Find out if local TIMSS data are available where you are conducting this session. If so, consider engaging participants with their local data.6) Activity 1.5 A Walk Across the Data: Curriculum, Instruction, and School Support Systems (75 minutes) The purpose of this activity is to introduce participants briefly to the highlights of the NRC report on using TIMSS for local action and to help them see the interconnectedness of the TIMSS data. You can tell participants that the authors of the NRC report are particularly concerned that educational institutions and policy makers not jump to conclusions based on bits and pieces of TIMSS. To use TIMSS effectively, educators and policy makers need to consider the whole picture that TIMSS paints about mathematics and science teaching and learning. 4   Participants may notice the frequent references to the U.S., Japan, and Germany studies and analysis. There is no official TIMSS explanation for the choice of countries that were involved in specific studies, such as the TIMSS Video Study. (This particular study was funded primarily by the U.S., so U.S. researchers selected the countries to be involved.) At the time of the study, Japan and Germany were our leading economic competitors. 5   Similar statements about the top 10% of Population 3 students cannot be made because the results were not formulated this way. With the exception of U.S. AP Calculus students, top U.S. students do poorly on international comparisons in both math and science. 6   TIMSS-R (TIMSS-Repeat) achievement tests (and contextual data gathering methodologies) were offered to school systems around the world. In the year 2001, those results will be made available. If possible, obtain relevant local data.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Overview of Curriculum Data Use Slide 1–26 to signal the shift in focus to a significant part of the TIMSS study—curriculum. Briefly, provide some background on the TIMSS curriculum study using Slides 1–27, 1–28, and 1–29. Mention that this part of the presentation will emphasize the TIMSS findings on curriculum focus. (For more information about other findings, refer participants to Chapter 4 of the NRC report. Module 2A will also take participants more deeply into Chapter 4 of the NRC report.) Use Slide 1–30 to show data about curriculum focus. Unveil the curriculum poster, an enlarged version of Slide 1–31. Using Slide 1–32, ask participants to discuss in groups of four the sense they make of these data, questions the data provoke, and the connections between the curriculum data and the achievement data. What questions do the curriculum findings raise about the achievement findings? Record responses on blank newsprint that you post under the curriculum poster. Summarize this overview of curriculum data by showing Slide 1–33. Transition to instruction, another factor that relates closely to curriculum and to student achievement. Overview of Instruction Data Use Slide 1–34 to illustrate the shift in focus now to the instruction part of the TIMSS study. Tell participants that one of the unique aspects of TIMSS is the video study of mathematics instruction in the U.S., Germany, and Japan, which provides valuable insights into instruction in these three countries. The data for the study were collected by videotaping one class period for each of 81 randomly selected teachers in the U.S., 100 in Germany, and 50 in Japan. The video researchers noted far more differences between countries than within countries, indicating that teaching techniques and patterns are similar within each country and different between countries. The purpose of examining different teaching styles is to provide examples of different alternatives and to encourage educators to consider these alternatives. Use Slides 1–35, 1–36, and 1–37 to provide an overview of the video study. Let participants know that they are about to have the opportunity to glimpse a U.S. and a Japanese mathematics classroom and see firsthand the kind of data collected through the video study. Set up the group for viewing the video by reviewing the questions on Slide 1–38, asking participants to focus on how the different teachers introduce the lessons, engage the students, and teach the content in each of the examples on the video segments. The questions are: How does the teacher introduce the concept? What is the difference between how the students are engaged in the U.S. classroom and the

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Japanese classroom? How challenging is the mathematics content supported by the lessons? (5 minutes) Before viewing the tape, ask participants to think about a typical U.S. eighth-grade mathematics classroom and to jot down the characteristics of teaching and learning that come to mind. Show Parts 1–3 of the U.S. Geometry lesson. Allow a few minutes for participants to take notes. (7.5 minutes) Show Parts 1–3 of the Japanese Geometry lesson. Again, allow a few minutes for notes. (7.5 minutes) Ask participants to work at tables in groups of three to four and to report their observations (what they saw or heard) to one another. Ask for volunteers to be prepared to report out to the large group by recording responses on chart paper or on a blank transparency. Note that the most significant standard in the NCTM Standards is the recommendation that mathematics be learned through problem solving. Ask, “What aspects of teaching did you see in the videos that follow such recommendations?” Help the groups by teasing out examples, such as that the Japanese teacher provides instructions to stop and think and to work in a group. And the U.S. teacher is doing call-and-response. (20 minutes) (Possible extension: If time permits, you can expand Module 1 by showing and discussing all of the U.S. and Japan lessons on the tape. You also can invite participants to obtain and view the rest of the videos themselves or with colleagues. If your participants will be participating in a Module 2B workshop, they will view the videos in more depth at that time.) Let participants know they will now have the opportunity to look briefly at what TIMSS researchers found from analyzing the teaching videos. For the purposes of this overview, the focus will be on the findings related to the structure of lessons. (Module 2B will take participants more deeply into the other instruction items in the NRC report.) Introduce two pieces of data from the video study: “Average Grade Level of Content in the Videotaped Lessons by International Standards” (lessons that engage students in conceptual thinking about mathematics), and “Lesson Structure—Percentages of Math Tasks that Students Decide How to Solve Rather than Using a Teacher-Prescribed Method” (Slides 1–39 and 1–40). Unveil the instruction poster, an enlarged version of Slide 1–41. Ask participants in groups of four to consider the instruction data now. What meaning do they make of the data? What questions do they raise? What new light do the instruction findings shed on the curriculum and achievement findings? (Slide 1–42.) Record participants’ responses on newsprint under the instruction poster. Summarize with Slide 1–43. Make a transition to the fourth and final piece of the puzzle, school support systems. Use Slide 1–44.

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide Overview of School Support Systems Findings Using Slide 1–45, introduce participants to the study of school support systems. Let them know that data about support systems was collected in the case studies of educational systems in Japan, Germany, and the U.S. and questionnaires completed by teachers, administrators, and students in many of the TIMSS countries. The results allow us to put other TIMSS findings in the context of school cultures and other influences on teaching and learning both inside and outside of the classroom. Let them know about the areas addressed by the NRC report. Use Slide 1–46. For the purposes of this presentation, tell participants that the emphasis will be on the findings on teacher learning. (For more information on other support system findings, participants can read Chapter 5 of the NRC report and/or participate in Module 2C.) Unveil the poster on “Time to Collaborate” (Slide 1–47) that illustrates the decline in U.S. teacher time to collaborate from fourth grade to eighth grade. Summarize other points from the NRC report’s chapter on school support systems, using Slide 1–48. Ask participants to connect these findings to their own settings and to other TIMSS findings with the prompts on Slide 1–49. Record the responses on blank newsprint and post them under the “Time to Collaborate” poster. Activity 1.6 Implications and Next Steps (15 minutes) Transition to implications with Slide 1–50. “We have now taken a very superficial look at all of the pieces of the TIMSS puzzle. The most important questions are, ‘What are the implications for us?’ and ‘Where we are going next?’” Ask participants to form role-alike groups (e.g. policy-makers, state education staff, parents, administrators). Summarize by saying that we have explored the “what” and the “so what” of the NRC report. You would now like them to reflect on the “now what?” What are implications for further reflection and next steps for their role-alike group? As a catalyst for their discussion, direct participants to consider the “Actions” each audience can take, starting with the Module 1 handouts entitled “Actions to Improve Mathematics and Science Education” (see pgs. 139–143). Ask each group to assign a recorder and a spokesperson and to come up with 2–3 high-priority actions they wish to take. (10 minutes) Ask for a spokesperson to report out for each group. (5 minutes) If you are offering additional workshops for these participants, provide them with a brief overview of Modules 2 and 3 using the descriptions in the modules’ introductions (general introductions to Module 2 and Module 3 are

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Global Perspectives for Local Action: Using TIMSS to Improve U.S. Mathematics and Science Education - Professional Development Guide given on pgs. 145 and 391, respectively. Refer participants to the “Resources” section of this guide and suggest that these resources will help them learn more about TIMSS. Wrap up with a quote from the NRC report on Slide 1–51.