ERIC Number: ED433271
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
An Analysis of Four Middle School Geography Textbooks: Meeting the Needs of Students with Learning Problems.
Jitendra, Asha; Nolet, Victor; Gomez, Ophelia; Xin, Yan Ping
A study examined geography texts to evaluate their adequacy for meeting the diverse needs of students and to recommend modifications that will address specific deficits. Four geography textbooks were selected based on consultations with publishers, teachers, and school administrators to be representative of geography textbooks adopted in the United States. One chapter from each text that related to China, India, Philippines, Russia, and West Indies was selected and one lesson from each chapter was scrutinized. Evaluation forms were designed, definitional criteria were devised for evaluating geography instruction in each textbook, and four education doctoral students were trained to read and evaluate the texts using the form. Only one text included all the instructional elements examined. None of the instructional elements was present in all the lessons examined. It seems clear that these texts would pose a significant challenge for students who enter middle school with reading skills below grade level or for students who speak English as a second language. Although the textbooks are intended for middle school students, readability is around tenth-grade level. Only one text provided specific suggestions for accommodating diverse learners. Textbooks varied in the extent to which they prompted students to engage in complex thinking associated with geography, a domain in which many problems are ill-structured. Texts were dense with facts but contained few concepts or principles, and students were asked to reiterate or summarize information more often than they were asked to illustrate, predict, evaluate, or apply information. Textbooks analyzed provided little support for teaching complex thinking or employing effective teaching strategies. Contains 4 tables of data and 12 references. (BT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).