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Using TIMSS items to evaluate the effectiveness of different instructional practices

Journal article
Authors K. Eriksson
Ola Helenius
A. Ryve
Published in Instructional Science
Volume 47
Issue 1
Pages 1-18
ISSN 0020-4277
Publication year 2019
Published at National Center for Mathematics Education, NCM
Pages 1-18
Language en
Keywords Instructional quality, TIMSS, Mathematics achievement, Student questionnaires, mathematics, achievement, student, science, Education & Educational Research, Psychology, IM-gruppen
Subject categories Educational Sciences


Can instructional quality be measured using TIMSS items on how often certain instructional practices are used in the mathematics classroom? We focused on three instructional practices that have been the topics of longstanding debates in the educational literature: memorizing formulas, listening to the teacher, and relating mathematics to daily life. In a multi-level multiple regression analysis, we examined how class-level responses to these items predicted mathematics achievement. In Sweden, across four waves of TIMSS, relating to daily life was a negative predictor of achievement, whereas memorizing formulas and listening to the teacher were positive predictors. This was also the typical pattern of results across all countries participating in two waves of the international TIMSS. Our findings are in line with certain positions on the abovementioned debates. Although conclusions are limited by the correlational nature of the data, we argue that TIMSS is a promising tool for evaluating the effectiveness of different instructional practices. We also suggest several improvements.

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