Textbooks – Not sufficient for students to be proficient.

I recently had the opportunity to examine three textbooks all written at the same time.  They all claimed to be standards based.

I was shocked by the differences.  Each had the same critical information but one textbook  just showed the essential information and then had an exercise, another explained how to do it but provided no exercises, and the third talked about it generally. Even though I teach the subject, I found many of the exercises confusing or not focusing on the standard.  None of the textbook had sufficient information to guide the student from knowing nothing about the topic to be able to use the information.   To accompany the information, one had up to many colorful pictures, a second had quotations, and the third had news articles.

How can a book claim to be standards-based if it does not guide the student from the very beginning stages through to the proficient stage?  A book has to explain the information so the student understands it,  see the specific forms, and uses these forms in meaningful ways. Hopefully, these books will provide  formative assessments that permit the student to assess how well he/she is doing and to learn a new strategy to overcome any gaps.  Let’s convince textbook publishers to move from  seeing the  “cuteness” of the subject to moving the student forward to success.

How well does your textbook guide the student to success?

My  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book,  Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

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1 Response to “Textbooks – Not sufficient for students to be proficient.”


  1. 1 textbook source April 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    I fully agree with you on this subject. Most students just assume their textbooks are a final authority but they are not perfect. Another thing that just drives me nuts is they are always releasing new editions of the same content to sell more books.

    The key thing to remember is it is a business driven by profit . Most companies don’t have the best interest of the students in mind.

    Great post!


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