A textbook is a book containing a comprehensive compilation of content in a branch of study with the intention of explaining it. Textbook are produced to meet the needs of educators, usually at educational institutions. Schoolbooks are textbooks and other books used in schools. Today, many textbooks are published in both print and digital formats.
A book should be well evaluated before its selection. NCERT developed detailed criteria for evaluating contents in various school textbooks.
Selection Criteria of a Textbook
A. Criteria for academic aspects
1. Selection of the Content-
a. The textbook cover all the topics and sub-topics given in the syllabus. It consists of instructional material which is based on the predetermined course of study, i.e. prescribed syllabus.
b. Selected topics are properly integrated with the test of the preceding class and the following class.
c. The textbook does not include any redundant material. However, it should be ensured that adequate material is provided for explaining various terms, concepts, principles and generalisations.
d. Scope of the topics and selected contents is as per the mental maturity of the intended age group of students.
e. Content included meets the needs of the average and intelligent students.
f. Content is accurate in respect of concepts, terms, facts and statistics.
g. Information is collected from authentic sources and correct use of terms and concepts is made.
h. The information included in the book is up-to-date.
2. Organisation of the Content-
a. The subject matter or content is organised into suitable units and chapters.
b. The sequence of chapters is logical. These ensure continuity of ideas.
c. Length of different chapters is appropriate.
d. The chapter headings are appropriate and convey the central idea
of the whole chapter.
a. Language used in the textbook is simple, correct, precise and comprehensive.
b. The vocabulary used is appropriate keeping in view the age group of the students.
c. Structure of sentences is appropriate. It is simple, short and clear.
d. The spellings are correct.
e. Punctuation is correct.
4. Punctuation of the Content-
a. The pedagogic consideration should be considered.
b. Simple to complex- The subject matter is presented in increasing order of complexity.
c. Known to unknown- The concept and subject matter of the topic are developed and explained on the basis of previous knowledge and experience of students with the help of common and familiar examples.
d. Specific to general- The definition and generalisations are logically deducted with the help of specific facts and concepts.
e. Interest of the students is sustained throughout the book.
f. Opportunities are given to the readers to enquire into problems, interpret data, draw inferences and verify them thus arriving at rational decision.
g. Adequate coverage of terminology relevant to the syllabus is provided. The terms are also effectively explained.
h. It promotes the habit of independent study.
i. It helps to inculcate desirable values and attitudes and acquire
a. Illustrations are adequate enough the cover all significant aspects of the text which need to be illustrated.
b. The illustrations are useful in explaining the text and making it more meaningful. They are accurate in every respect and are clear and vivid.
c. Illustrations are properly captioned.
d. The illustrations are of suitable size.
e. The are properly placed in the text.
6. Exercise and Assignments-
a. The exercises help in testing pupils knowledge including critical thinking and skills.
b. The exercise is suited to the mental maturity of the students.
c. The exercise helps the pupils in reviewing and recapitulating the main texts.
d. The language of the exercises is unambiguous.
e. The exercises promote the spirit of enquiry.
f. The exercises provide motivation for further study.
g. There are variety of exercises (essay type, objective type, short answer-type and fill in the blanks).
h. There are exercises that suggest activities to suit the needs of
the gifted as well as slow learners.
Further suggestions were also given on prelims, back pages, printing layout and getup, durability, size of the book and the price.
B. Selection of Textbook from Teacher's Point of View
The first question to ask when choosing a textbook is, what are you intending to do with it? As a constructivist teacher, you choose a slightly different textbook that will let students question their learning or fill in the blanks or it covers the course comprehensively. Thus, the textbook will cover the gaps that are left in classroom teaching by building basic concepts, introducing activities and providing supplementary information whenever necessary. While using a textbook as the guide to teach in the classroom, it should guide readers through a learning process and provides opportunities for self-assessment.
C. Selection of Textbook from Student's Point of View
If a textbook is properly planned and utilised, then it will be a useful tool for both the teacher and students. It can help in the following manner-
a. It gives the meaning and purpose of the teaching-learning process.
b. It keeps the teacher on ground against any haphazardness and unnecessary repetition and learning.
c. It facilitates and stabilizes student learning.
d. It lays down examples of the manner to be learnt.
e. It serves as memory tool for the pupils.
f. It reinforces what the students have learnt orally.
g. It prepares ground for writing.
h. It helps for supplementing pupils language experience.
i. It serves as a guide to the teacher.
On may conclude that while selecting a textbook one should at least briefly consider the following-
1. Scope- Does the textbook provide an adequate overview of relevant topics? Compare the topics of the textbook to the objectives of the class. Will there be any requirements for additional textbooks?
2. Content- Does the book cover the relevant topics? The size and reliability of the book provide the students enough time to meet course objectives.
3. Organisation- Is the textbook well organised? Review the
table of contents, chapters, appendices, glossary and index. Compare
the chapters and major headings to your course objectives and the
sequence of your course materials.
4. Contemporary- To provide students with the most current information available.
5. Supplemental Materials- What supplemental publisher resources are available? Have any supplementary websites, workbooks, study guides, videos and test banks been provided?
6. Cost- The cost of textbook should be minimized. While a book may not cover all topics in an ideal manner, a reasonable goal is to select one that is as complete as possible.
7. Student- Consider the text in light of the students who
will be using it. Is the reading level appropriate? Does it repeat
information included in a different course? Will the student be able
to comprehend easily what is given in the text?