Indicator 2

Time Allocated to Science Teaching in Grades K-5

Indicator 2 measures teachers’ estimates of the amount of time (instructional minutes per week) that they devote to teaching science.

Related DCL Awards (2): Dorph & Hartry; Mandinach & Orland


Priority: High

Indicator 2 is identified as a high priority in the Monitoring Progress report. It is both important and feasible to capture data on this indicator in the near term.

Operational Definition

This indicator is defined as the number of minutes a week devoted to science instruction at the grade level, and can be measured using language from a 2011 TIMSS survey item: “time in hours and minutes per week spent on science topics”. This definition is recommended because a baseline national estimate for grade 4 is available from the 2011 TIMSS, an item which will be used on the NAEP beginning in 2015. Determining both the quality and quantity of science instruction is important, and quality of instruction is the focus of Indicator 5. The NRC Monitoring Progress Working Group framed Indicator 2 in terms of quantity of instructional time out of concern of the reduced instructional time that elementary schools have devoted to science since the advent of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) accountability testing in reading and mathematics.

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