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Instructional Quality Features in Videotaped Biology Lessons: Content-Independent Description of Characteristics

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Abstract

A number of studies on single instructional quality features have been reported for mathematics and science instruction. For summarizing single instructional quality features, researchers have created a model of three basic dimensions (classroom management, supportive climate, and cognitive activation) of instructional quality mainly through observing mathematics instruction. Considering this model as valid for all subjects and as usable for describing instruction, we used it in this study which aimed to analyze characteristics of instructional quality in biology lessons of high-achieving and low-achieving classes, independently of content. Therefore, we used the data of three different previous video studies of biology instruction conducted in Germany. From each video study, we selected three high-achieving and three low-achieving classes (N = 18 teachers; 35 videos) for our multiple-case study, in which conspicuous characteristics of instructional quality features were qualitatively identified and qualitatively analyzed. The amount of these characteristics was counted in a quantitative way in all the videos. The characteristics we found could be categorized using the model of three basic dimensions of instructional quality despite some subject-specific differences for biology instruction. Our results revealed that many more characteristics were observable in high-achieving classes than in low-achieving classes. Thus, we believe that this model could be used to describe biology instruction independently of the content. We also make the claims about the qualities for biology instruction—working with concentration in a content-structured environment, getting challenged in higher order thinking, and getting praised for performance—that could have positive influence on students’ achievement.

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Notes

  1. Grant No. DFG FG 511

  2. Grant No. DFG NE 1196/6-1

  3. Two of the teachers had double lessons and they were only videotaped twice. In one lesson, technical problems during the videotaping occurred, so the video could not be used.

  4. Grant No. BMBF 01 JH 0904

  5. One teacher was sick on the day of the second videotaping.

  6. All used names are pseudonyms and all genders are set equal as male.

  7. Six teachers from the study nwu Essen (each with one videotaped lesson); five teachers from the study LerNT (each with three videotaped lessons) and one teacher from LerNT (with two videotaped lessons including one double lesson); six teachers from the study ProwiN (each with two videotaped lessons)

  8. “Lidschlussreflex” in German, that is, “lid reflex” or “corneal reflex” in English biology textbooks.

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Dorfner, T., Förtsch, C., Boone, W. et al. Instructional Quality Features in Videotaped Biology Lessons: Content-Independent Description of Characteristics. Res Sci Educ 49, 1457–1491 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-017-9663-x

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