The Trouble with Textbooks

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stephanie A. Kurtts, Professor (Creator)
Catherine E. Matthews, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Some of these dilemmas are under close scrutiny. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 12 of the most popular middle school science textbooks used across the nation are riddled with errors and do not have an acceptable level of accuracy (AAAS, 2000a). In addition to this alarming information, the AAAS review of the 10 most popular high school biology text-books found numerous facts, but little to explain the underlying scientific importance of the facts. The evaluators rated all 10 textbooks poor in "demonstrating use of knowledge" and "encouraging students to reflect on their own learning" (Hoff, 2000).These reports about textbooks present serious dilemmas for most science teachers who believe that textbooks play a major role in middle level and secondary science instruction. Previous studies report that most science teachers use science textbooks for most of their instructional time (Lumpe and Beck, 1996). Using a single comprehensive science textbook has been the norm for many years, and this is unhkely to change given the current state and structure of education systems and textbook publishing. So what can effective science teachers do to overcome the obstacles of inadequate textbooks? They can first fa-miliarize themselves with the problem and with the circumstances that have led us to this point, and second, take steps to correct textbook inadequacies in the classroom.

Additional Information

The Science Teacher, 68 (9), 42 – 45
Language: English
Date: 2001
Science textbook errors, Science teachers

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