## The First TIMSS Video Study

## Lack of a Shared Language to Describe Teaching

## Slippage Between Policy and Classroom Practice

## The Cultural Nature of Teaching

## The 1999 TIMSS Video Study

## Effective Teaching Takes Many Forms

*using procedures*problems) or rich mathematical problems that focus on concepts and connections among mathematical ideas (

*making connections*problems). Figure 1 shows the percentage of each kind of problem observed in six of the seven countries.

#### Figure 1. Types of Math Problems Presented

*making connections*problems. But note that Hong Kong, one of the highest-achieving countries in the study, is at the opposite end of the continuum, with only 13 percent of problems coded as

*making connections*. Classrooms in all of the countries spend time both on problems that call for

*using procedures*and on those that call for working on concepts or

*making connections*. The percentage of problems presented in each category, however, does not appear to predict students' performance on achievement tests.

## Implementation Is Important

*making connections*problem as a

*making connections*problem, or the teacher could transform it into another type of problem—most commonly, a

*using procedures*problem. For example, a teacher might transform a

*making connections*problem designed to have students figure out a method for calculating the area of various types of triangles into a

*using procedures*problem by giving students, at the outset, the formula (1/2 Base × Height) and telling students to simply plug in the relevant values.

*making connections*problems in the classroom: the percentage implemented as

*making connections*and the percentage implemented as

*using procedures*. Unlike Figure 1, this analysis reveals a pattern in which the highest-achieving countries resemble one another. Hong Kong and Japan, the two countries that differed most in the percentage of

*making connections*problems presented, show a new similarity. In both countries, the majority of

*making connections*problems are implemented as

*making connections*problems; a much smaller percentage are transformed into lower-level

*using procedures*problems. Here is the most striking finding of all: In the United States, teachers implemented none of the

*making connections*problems in the way in which they were intended. Instead, the U.S. teachers turned most of the problems into procedural exercises or just supplied students with the answers to the problems.

#### Figure 2. How Teachers Implemented Making Connections Math Problems

## Improving Teaching

## Focus on the Details of Teaching, Not Teachers

*teaching*—the methods that teachers use in the classroom—will yield greater returns.

## Become Aware of Cultural Routines

*making connections*problems, teachers can identify the techniques used to implement such problems, as well as the way in which teachers embed these techniques within the flow of a lesson.

## Build a Knowledge Base for the Teaching Profession

*making connections*problems, for example, will run up against a formidable challenge: They might never have seen what it looks like to implement these problems effectively.