COURSE BOOK EVALUATION CRITERIA
Steve Banfield & Phil Quirke

 

If you want to skip the introductory blurb, please scroll down to the criteria:

INTRODUCTION
All too often a working teacher is given a coursebook and he or she has no say in its selection. Most teachers have a heavy teaching schedule and outside interests and responsibilities. Hence, they do not always have the time to produce the kind of supplementary materials they may be capable of producing.
So, why have a page on course / textbook analysis? Several reasons:
There are situations where you are not only able to choose a book but are required to do so.
If you are required to use a book you do not like, it is better to be able to make a reasoned criticism than a dismissive, "Well, it's rubbish, isn't it?"
The pedagogical reasoning behind selecting a coursebook is the same as when you select supplementary material to use.
You might get a question in the exam on it.

There are two basic areas to consider when you are selecting a book:
1. Your teaching situation.
2. The various books available.

I have broken these two areas into subsections below.
Decide what questions you would ask yourself under each subsection. This is best done with the full teaching team but can equally be done in isolation
1. Analysing the teaching situation.
A. Syllabus.
B. Time available.
C. Age.
D. Students' background and interests.
E. Class size.
F. Level.

2. Analysing the books available.
A. General impression.
B. Methodology.
C. Grammar.
D. Skills.
E. Grading.
F. Presentation & practice.
G. Illustrations.
H. Story - line.
I. Series.
J. Sexism / racism / cultural appropriacy.
K. Extras.
L. Trialled.
M. Availability.
N. Price (!!!).

These subsections create the evaluation criteria below:

COURSE BOOK EVALUATION CRITERIA

Name of Book: ____________________________________
Author(s): ____________________________________
Publisher: ____________________________________
Year of Publication: ________________________________

LOGISTICAL FACTORS

1. Is the cost of the book within the institute's budget?

2. What extras are needed?
(Cassette? Video? CALL? etc)

3. Does the book fit local schedule requirements?

PEDAGOGICAL FACTORS

1. Does the book have a stated rationale? If so, does this fit that of your local curriculum and needs?

2. How do the different components tie together?
i.e. exercises, units, sections etc

3. What language is covered?
Does the book cover all the language your students need to learn?

4. Does the book recycle language?

5. What skills are covered? How are they covered? Separately? Integratedly?
Does the book give your students enough practice in the skills they need to master?

6. What sorts of task are covered? Are these tasks similar to those your students will have to do in tests, exams and other situations?

7. Which topics are covered? Are they of interest to your students? Are they culturally acceptable/appropriate?

8. How authentic is the material? Is there a mix of authentic and non-authentic material? Are these going to be appropriate for your students?

9. What is the book's approach to testing?

10. What do you think is missing from the book? Make a list.

HUMAN FACTORS

1. Is the book suitable for the teachers who are going to use it? Will it suit their teaching styles? Will it suit your students and their learning styles?

2. What guidance does the book give to the teacher? Is the Teacher's Book useful? Will the teacher need to do a lot of adapting?

3. How frequently do tests appear in the book? Is this appropriate?

4. Will the book appeal to your students? How easily can they find their own way around the book?

5. Will teachers you know use this book in the way intended by the writers and publishers?

If you would like to download a complete form please use this link.