This paper set emerged from an international symposium that aimed to shed light on issues associated with the enactment of inquiry both as means (i.e., inquiry as an instructional approach) and as ends (i.e., inquiry as a learning outcome) in precollege science classrooms. The symposium contributors were charged with providing perspectives from their countries on the following major themes: (a) philosophical and practical conceptions of inquiry in the science curriculum; (b) images of the enactment of inquiry in the curriculum, curricular materials, classroom instruction, and assessment practices; and (c) factors and conditions, internal and external to the educational setting, which facilitate or impede inquiry-based science education. Another major theme that emerged from the symposium was related to the very conceptions of inquiry teaching. The individual contributions and synthesizing commentaries demonstrate that despite their situatedness and diversity, many themes and issues cut across the represented locales, and serve to show the significance and potential fruitfulness of any discourse regarding inquiry in science education that this paper set might, and we hope will, trigger in the near future. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed88:397–419, 2003; Published online in Wiley InterScience ( DOI 10.1002/sce.10118