Textbook

An Evaluation of the Environmental Studies: Science Textbooks and Teachers’ Guides Used in BRAC Primary Schools

ARUP RATAN DAS

Abstract: The objective of this study was to do an evaluation of science textbooks and teachers’ guides of grade I-V used in BRAC Primary Schools. Only qualitative approach was used here. The study was done through document analysis. Five science textbooks were evaluated here on the basis of a set of selected criteria. This set of criteria was selected through analyzing related literature and consultation with experts. Here, BRAC was using their own developed textbooks for grade I, II & III and textbooks of National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) for grade IV & V. Study findings showed that criteria of a standardized textbook were found to be mostly evident in BRAC own textbooks. On the contrary, they were found to be moderately evident in NCTB textbooks. Thus, by comparing strength and weakness of these books, the study had recommended some tasks for revising current textbooks, and developing standardized science textbooks.

Executive Summary
Cover of general science NCTB text book for grade 5A textbook is a manual of instruction or a standard book in any branch of study. It is probably the most frequently used instructional material in different levels of education. In the context of Bangladesh textbook is a widely used instructional material. Students and teachers are highly dependent on textbook. Aims and objectives of curriculum are directly reflected through textbook. So development of textbook is required to achieve the assigned aims and objectives set in the curriculum. If the textbook had been developed according to curriculum, it would have probable that students would achieve expected aims and objectives. And textbook evaluation is a major part of textbook development.

Bangladesh and the other developing countries are committed to ensure basic education. Government of Bangladesh is trying to ensure basic education through government primary schools like government primary school, non-registered school, community school etc. Beside government some NGO’s are also trying to ensure the basic education. BRAC is apex one of them. It began with the establishment of 22 one room primary schools in 1985. It is currently operating 38,250 primary schools with 1.18 million students. BRAC has developed its own textbooks for primary level (grade I-III). They are using NCTB textbooks for grade IV&V. BRAC own textbooks are developed according to competency-based National Primary Curriculum. Social Science and General Science are integrated in Environmental Studies.

This research had done a comprehensive evaluation of science textbooks of grade I-V used in BRAC Primary School. The study was done through document analysis. Five science textbooks were evaluated here. Among them, textbooks of grade I, II & III are developed by BRAC and textbooks of grade IV & V are developed by NCTB.

A set of criteria of textbook evaluation was selected as a tool through document analysis. The set of criteria was selected through analyzing related literature and consultation with experts. The criteria were classified into 7 types such as curriculum related criteria, content related criteria, science related criteria, participation and activity related criteria, illustration related criteria, language related criteria, and physical aspect related criteria. Here-

•    Curriculum related criteria include the reflection of curriculum in the textbook such as objective, competency, guide line and instruction etc.
•    Content related criteria include appropriateness of organization, sequence and presentation of content, relevance of content with life experience and previous knowledge of learners, accuracy and up-to-date-ness of content etc.
•    Science related criteria demand- is investigatory approach used in the book, is the book motivates thinking, is the book develops experimental & problem solving skill of learner etc.
•    Participation and activity related criteria demand- is there sufficient provision of exercise, theoretical & practical test in the book; is the book motivates learning by doing etc.
•    Illustration related criteria include adequacy and effectiveness of illustration, clearness, legibility & appropriateness of illustration, evidence of necessary and relevant illustration & examples etc.
•    Language related criteria include readability of text, uniformity of spelling & terminology, correctness of spelling etc.
•    Physical aspect related criteria include appropriateness of typography, title cover, paper quality & binding, sustainability & safety of the book etc.

The selected textbooks were evaluated on the basis of the above mentioned criteria. Evidence of criteria was found most similar in BRAC own textbooks. These books were found to be developed following the guideline and instruction of curriculum mostly. Contents were found to be sufficient and appropriate for this age level of learners. They were sequenced in a logical order. Besides, they were real life oriented. Learning by doing was emphasized in these books. Adequate scope of developing experimental and problem solving skill was found here. Provided illustrations were found to be helpful for the learners to understand concepts easily and clearly. Sentence length, vocabulary, and complexity of sentence structure, the factors, which determine the readability of the text, seemed to be appropriate in these books. Physical aspect of these books was found strong also. In conclusion, criteria of a standardized textbook were found overall mostly evident in BRAC own textbooks.

However, in the case of NCTB science textbooks, selected criteria were found overall moderately evident. These books were also found to be developed following the guideline and instruction of curriculum, but not properly. Here some contents seemed to be inappropriate for related grade. It might create problem in attaining the objectives and competencies of the curriculum. Lack of scientific concept was found here. Some inaccurate and less necessary information was also provided in these books which is unexpected. For example, human body temperature was given 34 degree Celsius (p-64) which would be 36-37 degree Celsius. Besides, learning by doing was not so emphasized. Verbal and writing exercises seem to be inadequate. Reflection of affective and psychomotor domain was poor. In addition, there was lack of needed illustration. Provided illustrations seemed to be less attractive and unclear. Finally, physically these books seemed to be less attractive and sustainable.

In conclusion, BRAC own textbooks were found to be better than NCTB textbooks in all aspects of the criteria of standardized textbook. The following recommendations were made based on the findings mentioned above. The findings and recommendation of the study might give guidelines to the textbook developers to take necessary steps to ensure the quality of science education for making the learner a scientific literate person.

Recommendation for BRAC own textbooks –
1.    More writing exercises should be included in the textbook of grade I.
2.    Sufficient opportunity of practical work and creative work should be included in the textbook of grade II & III.
3.    Small, interesting stories about great scientist should be included in the content which is prescribed in curriculum. It will help developing scientific attitude among learners.
4.    Relevant contents and activities should be included for attaining missing competencies.

Recommendation for NCTB textbooks –
1.    Contents should be presented according to the maxims and theories of learning.
2.    Concepts those are abstract and incomprehensible for the learners intended for should be eliminated.
3.    Correct information should be provided and unnecessary information should be avoided.
4.    Textbooks should be made up to date and more current information should be included.
5.    More scientific concepts should be included. Beside this, relevant scientific explanation of scientific concepts should be provided.
6.    Learning by doing should be emphasized.
7.    Adequate verbal and writing exercises should be included. Then, sufficient opportunity of practical work and creative work should be included in the textbook.
8.    The number and diversity of the examples should be increased.

Introduction and Background
A textbook is a manual of instruction or a standard book in any branch of study. It is the general and major instructional material of the teaching-learning process. It serves as an important segment of the teaching-learning process.

Textbooks are probably the most frequently used instructional material in different levels of education. They communicate the course content to the teacher and the learner, and become an important source in progressing toward the objectives of the course. In fact, in many elementary and secondary schools, a large part of the knowledge to which students are exposed comes from the textbook. (Yilidrim, A. 2006)

Textbooks provide some degree of content expertise for subject matter issues, a logical sequence of content and a variety of support activities like questions, test items, cases and summaries. They may help make the teaching content-oriented and comprehensive, and allow more effective use of teacher time. However, in many educational systems textbooks have a controlling impact on what is taught in schools. Some researchers even argue that textbooks tend to be the primary influence on classroom instruction. (Yilidrim, A. 2006)

For ages books have been deemed to be the most reliable means of storing information. In the teaching-learning process teachers and students have been using several tools. Among these tools textbooks are one of the studying tools which take place in the printed and published tools group and serve as a source for students’ learning lives. They are tools which are prepared to make students learn, on their own, the information related with course subjects, in an ordered and correct way. The first books which were produced to be used in schools appeared in 1750s and more commonly in 1770s. Although textbooks have gone through serious changes in terms of design, function etc until today, they have not lost their strategic roles in the process of education. One of the most determining and guiding tools in planned and programmed educational studies are again textbooks (Keser, H. and Aydın, B).

Textbook is the published work used for educational purposes, which will be used in formal and non-formal educational institutions of any kind and at all grades, the chapters of which are prepared in the line with the curricula. It is such a nuclear that it will turn into fruits which will help improve, in the student, the communication skills such as thinking, interpreting, listening, speaking, reading and writing; positive social attitudes; pleasure of working; respect for human values and the feeling of fraternity between nations. When considered from the view of education technology components it is observed that textbooks are only one of the many tools and method types which take place among non-human sources (Keser, H. and Aydın, B).

Education is a continuous process for acquiring experience. Newer type of experience is gathering in the world of knowledge. Like the developed countries of the world textbook evaluation is badly needed to mobilize the acquisition of knowledge in developing countries also. To acquire the main goal of curriculum suitable textbook has a greater responsibility. Textbook will be developed according to the age, capability, desire, interest of the learner so that the learner can perceive the subject matter easily (Millat, B. 1982).

In the context of Bangladesh textbook is a widely used instructional material. Students and teachers are highly dependent on textbook. Aims and objectives of curriculum are directly reflected through textbook. So development of textbook is required to achieve the assigned aims and objectives set in the curriculum. If the textbook had developed according to curriculum it would have expected that students would achieve expected aims and objectives. And textbook evaluation is a major part of textbook development.

Bangladesh and the other developing countries are committed to ensure the basic education. Bangladesh has made significant progress in the education sector. With a primary school enrollment rate of 92 per cent it is closer to attaining the Millennium Development Goal 2 of Universal Primary Education. The target is to ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. Girls account for 52 per cent of primary school enrollment portraying that gender parity has achieved at this tier of education. Government of Bangladesh is trying to ensure basic education through primary schools like government primary school, non-registered school, community school etc. Beside government some NGO’s are also trying to ensure basic education. BRAC is one of them.

BRAC is one of the well established and apex NGO’s in Bangladesh. It conducts educational program beside government to ensure education for all. The program is known as BRAC Education Program (BEP). As a part of this program, primary education is one of the major educational programs. It began with the establishment of 22 one room primary schools in 1985. It is currently operating 38,250 primary schools with 1.18 million students. BRAC had developed its own textbooks for primary level (grade I-III). They are using textbooks of National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) for grade IV&V. BRAC own textbooks are developed according to competency-based National Primary Curriculum. Social Science and General Science are integrated in Environmental Studies Textbook (BRAC Annual Report, 2008).

According to the review of related literature, this kind of study on science textbook and teachers’ guide had not conducted enough. For this reason the researcher had done a comprehensive evaluation of science textbooks of grade I-V used in BRAC Primary School. The result of the study will help to select criteria of textbook evaluation. Moreover it will help the policy makers, curriculum and instructional material developers to analyze, evaluate and further develop the textbooks. It will also be useful for development of BRAC own textbook of grade III & IV, which is going to be done soon.

Study objective
The general objective of this study was to do an evaluation of science textbooks of grade I-V used in BRAC Primary Schools. The specific objectives were to:

1.    evaluate science textbooks on the basis of selected criteria for textbook evaluation.
2.    evaluate the academic aspect and physical aspect of these textbooks.
3.    find out strengths and weaknesses of these books.

Methods
This study is a descriptive research. It was one kind of case study. Only qualitative approach was used here. The study was done by the researcher himself through document analysis. Five environmental studies textbooks and teachers’ guides were evaluated here. Among them, textbooks of grade I, II & III were developed by BRAC and textbooks of grade IV & V were developed by NCTB. But all teachers’ guides were developed by BRAC. There was no separate textbook of science for grade I-III. Here Social Science and General Science was integrated in Environmental Studies textbook named Poribesh O Amra. In the case of these books, only general science part was evaluated here. For grade IV & V, there were science textbooks named Poribesh Porichiti: Biggayan.

A set of criteria of textbook evaluation was selected as a tool through document analysis. The set of criteria was selected through analyzing related literature. The selected textbooks were evaluated on the basis of the selected 48 criteria (Annex I). Existing national curriculum of NCTB was considered here. The selected criteria were classified into 7 types as such curriculum related criteria, content related criteria, science related criteria, participation and activity related criteria, illustration related criteria, language related criteria, and physical aspect related criteria. (Annex-I)

Analysis and Findings
BRAC textbooks were developed according to the national curriculum and terminal competencies. But here contents were rearranged in different grades according to the need, ability, maturity, readiness, psychology, societal and economical status of the learners of BRAC primary schools.

The researcher had evaluated science related contents only. Besides textbook teachers’ guide was also evaluated.

Textbook of grade I
Description: In the textbook of grade I there are nine chapters (three chapters on society and one each on food, health, safety, environment, animal, and homeland). Here-
•    General Science related chapters are Food, Natural Environment, and Domestic Animal-Bird.
•    Social Science related chapters are Family, House, Neighbor, and Our Country.
•    Social Science-General Science related chapters are Neat and Cleanliness, Accident and Carefulness from It.

Content of chapter
The following chapters are sequenced as like as the textbook.
1.    House – Conception about house, necessity of house, model of standard house etc.
2.    Family – Conception about family, functions and responsibilities of family members, interdependence of family members etc.
3.    Neighbor – Conception about neighbor, helping neighbor, necessity of unity, different kinds of social gathering and religious festival etc.
4.    Food – Idea about different kinds of food and their necessity, food habit of fauna, nutrients of food, nutritious foods etc.
5.    Neat and Cleanliness – Knowledge about necessity of neat and cleanliness, different types of diseases, cause and remedy of disease, care of human body organs etc.
6.    Accident and Carefulness from It – Knowledge about different types of accident and their cause, safety, first aid etc.
7.    Natural Environment – General knowledge about natural environment, elements of environment, animal diversity, awareness about plant and animal etc.
8.    Domestic Animal-Bird – Knowledge about animal husbandry, care of domestic animal, usefulness of domestic animal and bird.
9.    Our Country – A short description of Bangladesh (urban & village area), national symbol, national anthem and national flag etc.

Evidence of criteria
Criteria of a standardized textbook were overall found to be mostly evident in this book.

Guideline and instruction of curriculum seemed to be followed here mostly. But reflection of few competencies and contents were not found in the book. In addition, they were not reflected in the books of further grades. The missing terminal competencies are-
*    Learner will find out the relationship between cause and effect of natural incident through easy experiments.
*    He/she will be able to differentiate real, unreal and fancy incidents.

From the above list of content it seemed that contents were sufficient and appropriate for this age level of learners. They were sequenced in a logical order. They were real life oriented also. For example, concepts like necessity of food, making of tooth powder in home, common accidents, their cause and first aid etc. Some concepts were given through interesting stories, which is helpful for motivating the learners of this age level in learning. For example, from the story about Tipu (teachers’ guide, p-57), students will learn about the behavior of human with animals.

However a topic was missing in the book which was prescribed in the curriculum. The missing content was the story about great scientist. This kind of story would help to develop scientific idea, skill and values in learner which is needed for building a scientifically literate person.

Learning by doing was emphasized in this book. A lot of opportunity of practical work and exercise were found here. For example, in the chapter food, learners will make model of different kinds of food with clay or paper. Then they will play a game with these models, by which they can present their learning about the necessity of food. Here learners can show their creativity through drawing pictures. But most of the exercises were verbal. Some writing exercises like fill in the blanks, matching, puzzle etc. could be added in the chapters.

Illustrations seemed to be helpful for the learners to understand concepts easily and clearly. For example, in the chapter neat and cleanliness, concept about ways of maintaining neat and cleanliness was presented through real life oriented attracting pictures.

Sentence length, vocabulary, and complexity of sentence structure, the factors, which determine the readability of the text, were appropriate in this book. Comprehensible vocabulary, easy and short length sentences were used in the text. Along with no spelling mistake were found here.
Physical aspect of the book was found strong. The title cover seemed to be really attracting. Good quality paper was used here. Binding and stitching was also sustainable. Overall the book was found sustainable and safe for the learner of this grade.
Evidence of criteria in the book of grade 1
In conclusion, from the above figure it was seen that most of the selected criteria were fully evident in the book. However some weak points were also found in the book. Such as, story about great scientist was not included in the content, which was prescribed in curriculum. Lack of writing exercise was also found in the book.

In the teachers’ guide of this book, instructions for teacher were found to be sufficient and clear. Here objectives of the content, teaching method, day wise lesson plan were given. As a part of teaching method instruction about field trip (e.g. learners will visit houses of their area for attaining knowledge about characteristics of different kinds of houses), learning by doing (e.g. students will make model of different kinds of houses), role play etc. were described clearly.

Textbook of grade II
Description: In the textbook of grade II there are 11 chapters (four chapters on society and one each on culture, homeland, plant, animal, food, health, and climate). Here-
•    General Science related chapters are Plants, Animal, Bird and Fish, and Food.
•    Social Science related chapters are Our House, My Family, Our Neighbor, Our Dress, Our School, and Our Country.
•    Social Science-General Science related chapters are Neat and Cleanliness, Weather and Season.

Content of chapter
The following chapters are sequenced as like as the textbook.
1.    Our House – Conception of standardized house and its characteristics.
2.    My Family – Conception about the importance of the role of every family member, self responsibility as family member etc.
3.    Our Neighbor – Conception about social values, awareness from rumor, social responsibility as a neighbor etc
4.    Plants – Conception about general classification of plants and fruits and their usefulness etc.
5.    Animal, Bird and Fish – Conception about general classification of animal, bird and fish, their habitats and usefulness etc.
6.    Food – Conception about classification of food, preservation process of food etc.
7.    Our Dress – Conception about different kinds of dresses (season, age, environment, choice – wise dresses), dresses of ethnic groups of Bangladesh etc.
8.    Neat and Cleanliness – Conception about necessity of neat and cleanliness, demerits of  dirtiness, importance of drinking pure water, source of drinking water etc.
9.    Weather and Season – Conception about weather, seasons of Bangladesh and their general characteristics, cause and effect of season change etc.
10.    Our School – Conception about rules and regulation of school, students’ responsibilities in school, respect to teachers, behavior with classmates etc.
11.    Our Country – Conception about map of Bangladesh; name of national days, practice of national anthem, description of national flag; short description of Sundarban, short description of national flower, fruit, bird, fish and animal and their characteristics; conception about big rivers of Bangladesh etc

Evidence of criteria
Criteria of a standardized textbook were overall found to be mostly evident in this book.

Guideline and instruction of curriculum seemed to be followed here mostly. But reflection of few competencies and contents were not found in the book. Missing terminal competencies are-
*    Learner will visit local hospital, mill-factory, industry and laboratory. And learner will ask question, give verbal description and draw picture of visited places.
*    Learner will know about newspaper, radio, television, computer, mobile phone through picture and will know about their function.

Through attaining above competencies, learners would know about the use of modern science, information and communication technology in our daily life. Though knowledge about this content was given in upper grades, but in this stage, introductory knowledge about this content might be given. Because it is the need of modern age. Now-a-days these technologies are used in both rural and urban area in a large scale.

From the above list of content it seemed that contents were sufficient and appropriate for this age level of learners. Contents were sequenced in a logical order. Contents were presented according to maxims of learning such as known to unknown, easy to hard etc. In addition Relation with life experience and previous knowledge of learners was kept in presenting concept. For example, further conception about necessity of neat and cleanliness was presented here relating to the idea given in the previous grade. Presented contents were relevant to the need, ability, maturity, readiness and psychology of learner of grade II.  Contents were real life oriented also. Some concepts were given through interesting stories, which is helpful for motivating the learners of this age level in learning. Some important massages, like all kinds food of are need for being healthy; we should eat uncovered and unhygienic food, were given through interesting stories.

Here, it seemed that learning by doing was not emphasized in this book as it was highly emphasized in the book of grade I. Little opportunity of practical work was found here. For example, in the chapter food a practical work on preservation process of fruit by making jam-jelly and in the chapter plants a small work on making fertilizer by plant would be added. This kind of work could help learners to show their creativity and develop their experimental skill. But this book was rich in verbal and writing exercise which was poorly present in the book of grade I. These exercises included fill in the blanks, matching, free hand writing, true/false, choosing right answer etc. Especially, found exercise within the text is really helpful for formative evaluation of learner’s learning during reading the text.

Illustrations were seemed to be appropriate and helpful for the learners to understand concepts easily and clearly. Necessary and adequate illustrations were given here. For example, in the chapter neat and cleanliness, whole process of making saline water in home was shown through easy and colorful illustration.

Readability of text was found to be appropriate in this book. Comprehensible vocabulary, easy and short length sentences were used in the text. Along with no spelling mistake was found here.

Physical aspect of the book was found strong. The title cover seemed to be really attracting. Good quality paper was used here. Binding and stitching was found to be sustainable. Overall the book was found sustainable and safe for the learner of this grade.
Evidence of criteria in the book of grade 2
In conclusion, from the above figure it was seen that most of the selected criteria were fully evident in the book. However some weak points were also found in the book. Such as, story about great scientist was not included in the content, which was prescribed in curriculum. Few competencies were missing. Lack of opportunity of practical work was found here.

In the teachers’ guide of this book a list of class wise attainable competencies were given. Objectives of the content, teaching method, day wise lesson plan were also given here. Besides, instructions about other activities, like arranging parents meeting for raising social awareness were given here.

Textbook of grade III
Description: In the textbook of grade III there are 12 chapters (four chapters on society, two chapters on science and environment, and one each on culture, homeland, population, food, and health,). Here-
•    General Science related chapters are Food, Living and Matter.
•    Social Science related chapters are-Our House, Right and Responsibility, Our Festival, People of Different Professions, Our Country, and Children of Neighboring Country
•    Social Science-General Science related chapters are Neat and Cleanliness, Our Environment, Superstition and science, and Population.

Content of chapter
The following chapters are sequenced as like as the textbook.
1.    Our House – Conception about different kinds of houses, housing material, necessity of house etc.
2.    Right and Responsibility – Conception about right and responsibility of a family member and a citizen.
3.    Our Festival – Conception about social festivals of Bangladesh, different religions and religious festivals etc.
4.    People of Different Professions – Conception about different kinds of professions, professionals and their services etc.
5.    Food – Conception about elements of balanced food and their functions, necessity of balanced food, food habit of animal etc.
6.    Neat and Cleanliness – Conception about necessity of neat and cleanliness, cleanliness of environment, body care etc.
7.    Our Environment – Conception about elements of environment and their necessity, cause and effect of environmental pollution etc.
8.    Living and Matter – Conception about characteristics of living and matter and difference between them, life cycle of plant etc.
9.    Superstition and Science – Conception about superstition and its demerits, gift of science in human life etc.
10.    Our Country – Conception about national flag and national anthem of Bangladesh, geography of Bangladesh, map of Bangladesh etc.
11.    Children of Neighboring Country – Knowledge about neighboring countries of Bangladesh, their body structure, language, religion, food habit, dress, festival, culture etc.
12.    Population – Knowledge about population, demerits of over population etc.

Evidence of Criteria
Criteria of a standardized textbook were overall found to be mostly evident in this book.

Guideline and instruction of curriculum seemed to be followed here mostly.

From the above list of content it seemed that contents were sufficient and appropriate for this age level of learners. They were sequenced in a logical order. They were found real life oriented also. Some important massages, like don’t believe in superstition, were given through interesting stories which would motivate learner in reflective thinking.

In this book knowledge about superstition and science, ways of body care etc. were added which was not prescribed in the curriculum for this grade. But these concepts are needed as social and personal need. And it was one of the strengths of this book. Real life need was considered here. But few contents were not reflected in the book. In addition, those were not reflected in the books of further grades. Missing contents are-
*    Water purifying process
*    Sweet and salty water

Here, knowledge about water purifying process is real life oriented. It might help the learners developing their experimental and problem solving skill. And it is a suitable concept for this age group.

Learning by doing was not so emphasized in this book. Little opportunity of practical work was found here. For example, in the chapter living and matter, a practical work on making model of life cycle of plant would be added. But this book was rich in verbal and writing exercises. These exercises included fill in the blanks, matching, free hand writing, true/false, choosing right answer, drawing picture etc. Exercise within the text was also present here.

Illustrations seemed to be appropriate and helpful for the learners to understand concepts easily and clearly. Necessary and adequate illustrations were found here. For example, in the chapter our environment water cycle, air pollution, necessity of air etc, were presented through easy and clear illustration (p 64).

Readability of text was found to be appropriate in this book. Comprehensible vocabulary, easy and short length sentences were used in the text. Along with no spelling mistake was found here.

Physical aspect of the book was found to be strong. The title cover seemed really attracting. Good quality paper was used here. Binding and stitching was found to be sustainable. Overall the book was found sustainable and safe for the learner of this grade.
Evidence of criteria in the book of grade 3
In conclusion, from the above figure it was seen that most of the selected criteria were fully evident in the book. However some weak points were also found in the book. Such as, few competencies and contents were missing in the book. In addition, missing contents were not found in the books of further grades. Besides, lack of sufficient opportunity of practical work and creative work were found here.

In the teachers’ guide of this book a list of class wise attainable competencies were given. Objectives of the content, teaching method, day wise lesson plan were also given here. Besides, instructions about other activities, like arranging parents meeting for raising social awareness (food, neat and cleanliness) were given here.

Textbook of grade IV
Description: In the science textbook of grade IV there are 13 chapters. As it is the textbook of science only, all chapters are related to science.

Content of chapter
The following chapters are sequenced as like as the textbook.
1.    Classification of Plant – Conception about different kinds of plants and their characteristics, interdependency of plant and animal etc.
2.    Soil – Conception about structure and types of soil and their characteristics, way of testing soil, fertility of soil, necessity of fertilizer, system of making bio-fertilizer, cause and effect of soil pollution, ways of soil conservation etc.
3.    Water – Conception about sources of water, use of water, types of water, cause and effect of water pollution, necessity of pure water, ways of water conservation etc.
4.    Air – Conception about existence of air, necessity of air, elements of air, use of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon-die-oxide, cause and effect of air pollution, ways of air conservation etc.
5.    Electric Energy – Conception about energy, electric energy, use of electric energy, conservation of electric energy etc.
6.    Heat Energy – Conception about impact of heat, experiment on impact of heat on water, solid matter, liquid matter and aerial matter, use of heat energy etc.
7.    Sound Energy – Conception about sound energy, example of different use of sound energy, cause and effect of sound pollution etc.
8.    Health Rules – Conception about necessity of food for good health, necessity of labor, sleep and rest for good health, types of garbage, its merits and demerits etc.
9.    Insects in Spreading Diseases – Conception about different types of insects, their habitats, ways of safety from these insects.
10.    First Aid – Conception about types of accidents and their first aid etc.
11.    Goat Farming – Conception about types of goat, its food habit, habitat, care, disease, usefulness etc.
12.    Information and Communication Technology – Conception about different use of technology for communication and information transfer such as road way, water way, air way and by radio, telegraph, computer etc.
13.    Population and Environment – Conception about effect of population on environment, society, economy etc.

Evidence of criteria
Criteria of a standardized textbook were overall found to be moderately evident in this book.

It seemed that guideline and instruction of curriculum were not followed here properly. Reflection of objectives and terminal competencies were found to be poor.

From the above list of content, it was seen that contents were sufficient and appropriate for this age level of learners. They were sequenced in a logical order. Here, the title of the first chapter, Living World, was not appropriate according to the content. Because the chapter had given conception about plant kingdom only. But living world includes both plant and animal kingdom. So the name of the chapter would be Plant Kingdom instead of Living World. In most cases, contents were found to be presented in deductive approach. For example, in the chapter soil, before knowing the characteristics of soil learner could examine different kinds of soil and find out difference between them. Then he/she could summarize the characteristics. But, here, reverse process was followed. Some incorrect information was found in the text of this book. Human body temperature was given 34 degree Celsius (p-64) which would be 36-37 degree Celsius. For telephone communication, sound energy is not directly transferred. It is transferred through electric signal. No clear idea was given about it. Information about use of sound in measuring blood pressure was not clear also. There was some information which was not so necessary for related grade. For example, knowledge about percentage of oxygen in air is not necessary for this grade. It is totally an abstract idea. Therefore, 1/5 percent is the percentage of oxygen in ideal gas under condition which was presented incorrectly.

Lack of scientific concept was found in this book. For example, in the concept of water pollution no information was given about what is arsenic. Some information was presented in knowledge approach. In the concept of information and communication technology there was no idea about how does computer work as a communication tool and how does it transfer information.

Opportunity of practical work was found in the book. But some experiments were not suitable for this grade. At the experiment of impact of heat on metal, the change is very small and it was not cleared that how to measure the change. Experiment on impact of heat on liquid is not safe for the learners of this grade and there was information gap in the description of this experiment (p-64). Learning by doing was not so emphasized in this book. Concept of thermometer was presented as a temperature measuring tool, but no practical knowledge about using thermometer was given where it’s a real life oriented problem solving skill. Given verbal and writing exercises seemed to be not enough for this grade. There was no evidence of the exercise item true/false in whole book. In addition, exercise within the text was absent. Little excess of creative thinking was found in exercise part, but sufficient related knowledge and discussion was not presented in the text to solve the problems (p-68).

Illustrations were found to be unclear. All illustrations were printed in black and white color. These were not so attractive. Size of some figures was inappropriate (p-3). In some cases, there was no description of illustration (p-58,111). In the chapter of electric energy, an illustration of electric shock was given (p-53). But no description was found about it with the figure. Some illustrations seemed to be unclear and incompatible for this grade (p-68-vocal chord). Some lustrations were not so necessary and unrelated with the text (p-64, thermometer).

Readability of text seemed to be appropriate in this book. Comprehensible vocabulary, easy and short length sentences were used in the text. Along with no spelling mistake was found here.

Title cover of the book was found so poor. It seemed unattractive for the learners. Binding and stitching were found to be not so sustainable. Quality of paper were not so good and sustainable also.
Evidence of criteria in the book of grade 4
In conclusion, from the above figure it was seen that most of the selected criteria were moderately evident in the book. However some weak points were also found in the book. Such as, reflection of affective and psychomotor domain was poor. Contents were not presented according to the maxims and theories of learning. Besides, there was lack of scientific concept. Some incorrect and less necessary information were provided also. Learning by doing was not so emphasized. Verbal and writing exercises were not so adequate. Illustrations were less attractive and unclear. In addition, there was lack of needed illustration. Physically the book was not so attractive and sustainable.

In the teachers’ guide of this book, instruction about teaching method and day wise lesson plan were given only.

Textbook of grade V
Description: In the science textbook of grade V there are 18 chapters. As it is the textbook of science only, all chapters are related to science.

Content of chapter
The following chapters are sequenced as like as the textbook.
1.    Living World – Conception about classification of plant and their characteristics features of seed and leaf, parts of a fruit etc.
2.    Flower, Fruit and Vegetable Cultivation – Conception about flower, fruit and vegetable of six seasons of Bangladesh, cultivation process of flower, fruit and vegetable etc.  
3.    Animal Planet – Introduction to animal planet, examples of vertebrate and non-vertebrate animal and characteristics, adaptation process of animals in different environment etc.
4.    Food and Nutrition – Conception about types of food and their individual function and necessity, balanced food etc.
5.    Health Rules – Conception about infectious disease (such as diarrhea, dysentery, tuberculosis, influenza, malaria etc.), ways of spreading these diseases, symptom, cause and remedy of these diseases; symptom and cause of  HIV-AIDS; process of making saline water in home; care of body parts etc.
6.    First Aid – Conception about first aid, ways of giving first aid for some common accidents etc.
7.    Substance – Conception about general features of substance, easy experiments for proving the features, physical conditions of substance and their characteristics, change of physical condition of substance by heat etc.
8.    Classification and Structure of Substance – Conception about classification of matter and their characteristics, structure of molecule etc.
9.    Energy – Conception about energy and work, types of energy (such as mechanical energy, light energy, heat energy, electric energy etc.) and their source and use, changing form of energy, general electric cell etc.
10.    Air – Conception about air as a matter, experiment of proving air as a matter, air pressure and air flow, their uses, air pressure measuring equipment etc.
11.    Weather and Climate – Conception about elements of weather and climate, difference between weather and climate, influence of sun-heat on weather and environment, rainfall and rain gauge etc.
12.    Earth and the Universe – Conception about sphere of luminary, solar system, planet, season change, milky way, nebula, meteor, comet, universe etc.
13.    Science and Technology – Conception about relation between science and technology, use of technology in different sectors (such as education, communication, agriculture, medical science etc), use of technology in daily life, misuse of technology and its demerits etc.
14.    Information and Communication Technology – Conception about Information and Communication Technology and its importance, sources of transferring information (such as telegraph, computer, internet, radio, telephone etc.)
15.    Goat Farming – Conception about economic importance of goat farming, modern system of goat farming etc.
16.    Environmental Pollution – Conception about environment and its element, cause and effect of environmental pollution, necessity and ways of environment conservation etc.
17.    Population and Environment – Conception about population of Bangladesh, demography, birth rate, death rate, population density, per capita income, per capita land, effects of over population etc
18.    Neem and the Importance of Its Cultivation – Conception about cultivation process of neem, importance of its cultivation etc.

Evidence of criteria
Criteria of a standardized textbook were overall found to be moderately evident in this book.

It seemed that guideline and instruction of curriculum were not followed here properly. Reflection of objectives and terminal competencies were found to be poor.

From the above list of content, it was seen that contents were sufficient for this age level of learners. They were sequenced in a logical order. But there were some too higher order concepts in this book which might be not suitable for the learner of this grade. Besides, some were too conceptual for this age level such as organic structure, embryo, transport cell, relationship between color of plant and self nutrition production (Living World); electric cell, dynamo (Energy); cause of rainfall (Weather and Climate) etc. Some incorrect information was found in the text of this book. Here, it was said that camel can store water in their belly (p-27). But the correct information is camel can store water in their blood. Given definition of air pressure was wrong (p-105). Because definition of pressure was used as the definition of air pressure. In some cases, information gap was found in the book. In chapter three, list of mineral food was not given (p-38). In chapter fifteen, names of some goat diseases and treatment process were listed. But no conception about the symptoms of these diseases was found here though it is needed to know to identify whether the goat is sick or not. Besides, it was necessary and appropriate for the learners of this age level.

Lack of scientific concept and explanation were found in this book. For example, no explanation was given about impact of carbon-dioxide on global warming. Some information was presented in knowledge approach such as conversion of energy (p-87), use of technology for advancement of quality of life (p-135). Some concepts were almost whole repetition of what students learnt in previous grades (information & communication technology, states of water etc.).

A little opportunity of practical work was found in this book. Learning by doing was not so emphasized. Provided verbal and writing exercises seemed to be enough for this grade. In most chapters, only multiple choice question, short essay type and broad essay type question were given for exercise. There was no evidence of the exercise item like true/false, matching, drawing diagram or picture etc. in whole book. Exercise within the text was absent. Little excess of creative thinking was found in exercise part.

Illustrations seemed to be unclear and less attractive. All illustrations were printed in black and white color. In addition, some figures were inappropriate and incomprehensible (p-80). No description was found with some figures (p-150; video conference).

Readability of text of the book seemed to be not so appropriate. However no spelling mistake was found here.

Title cover of the book was found to be so poor. It seemed to be less attractive for the learners. Binding and stitching were not sustainable. And quality of paper was not so good and sustainable.
Evidence of criteria in the book of grade 5
In conclusion, from the above figure it was seen that most of the selected criteria were moderately evident in the book. Besides, number of little evident criteria was also high. Then some weak points were found in the book. Such as, reflection of affective and psychomotor domain was poor. Contents were not presented according to the maxims and theories of learning. Besides, there was lack of information and scientific explanation. Some incorrect and less necessary information were provided which is unexpected. In addition, some contents were not appropriate for related grade. Learning by doing was not so emphasized. Verbal and writing exercises were not so adequate. Illustrations were less attractive and unclear. In addition, there was lack of needed illustration. Physically the book was not so attractive and sustainable.

In the teachers’ guide of this book a list of class wise attainable competencies were given. Instruction about teaching method, day wise lesson plan were also given here.

Discussion
In today’s classroom, textbooks serve as a tool, tutor, guidebook and gauge. Teachers throughout the world base approximately 50 percent of their weekly teaching time on textbooks (Chen J. and Chen J. C). Therefore, selecting a proper textbook for a class has been one of the most important tasks. In order to select the proper textbook, evaluation of textbook is must. It is also needed for developing textbooks.

Researcher had done the evaluation according to the existing national curriculum of primary level. From the above analysis BRAC own textbooks were found to be clearer than NCTB textbooks. In the case of BARC own textbooks, pages were found quite intensely designed. The content and language were relevant to the age level. Besides, illustrations seemed to be really attractive. Scope of formative and summative evaluation was found in all books. In addition, the books were found to be suitable for developing scientific skills among the primary level learners. And developing scientific skills among learners is the main objective of science education. Then, the contents were also real life oriented and helpful for acquiring problem solving skills. As a large portion of the target group of BRAC Primary Education Program are from lower class of the society, real life oriented education is badly needed for them. However, among BRAC own textbooks, textbook of grade I & II found to be better than textbook of grade III.

In the light of findings given above, it was seen clearly that during preparation of the NCTB science textbook, criteria of standardized science textbook were not regarded properly. Because of lack of scientific concept and explanation, proper and adequate illustration, and opportunity of practical work, the textbook seemed to be weak. Then, the misconceptions and some incorrect information in the textbook made this situation worse. In addition to these results, measurement-assessment techniques were not diverse. So, it was clear that the textbook don’t serve fully to meet the needs of teacher, students and even instruction. As a consequence, since the nature of science and questioning were not fully regarded, it was designed in an inadequate manner. Lack of the usage of major learning approaches resulted in useless information which was away from investigation.

Thinking these basic results, a textbook must have certain aims. Firstly, textbook should be helpful to understand the main scientific concepts easily. Main scientific concepts should be presented deeply in the textbook, but the presentation should not bring on misconceptions. Secondly, history of science, nature of science, and science and technology, society issues should be perceived as an intellectual and social aim. At last, scientific research processes, questioning, inquiry based instruction and problem solving skills should be supported by the book. Science education provides discussion settings to students for important science topics in the classroom. For example, students can investigate the environmental problems which they become face to face in the area that they live. They can save and help to protect the extinct and endangered species. Textbooks that are important part of science education should encourage the students for investigating on diverse subjects using the questioning techniques, instruction approach, visual materials and activities etc (Omca E., Birgül and Karakaya C).

In conclusion, the researcher recommended that the current national curriculum should be revised and made up to date to maintain the international standards of science education.

In addition, the researcher had some limitations during doing the study. Researcher could not appoint any expert for analyzing the textbooks due to lack of adequate time and resources. Then the area of the study was broad. If the researcher could take more time and help of experts, the study might be more effective.

Conclusion
The textbook is seen as the most popularly used teaching learning material in Bangladesh’s school. So the curriculum is to be transacted in the textbooks in its full form. Again, the curriculum that has been intended for the primary cycle is competency based and pre-specified competencies are to be essentially attained on completion of primary cycle. Since, the mostly used learning material in reality is being used by the primary teachers and students is textbook, so the textbook is the main instrument here in Bangladesh to acquire the pre-identified competencies. Hence, the textbooks are to contain necessary inputs required for achieving the competencies targeted for the stage. (Mohiuddin A. H. M, Soma T. and Haque M. M.)

So it is worthwhile to evaluate the textbooks to examine how the curriculum has been presented in the textbooks and how much the textbooks are effective to transfer concepts, themes and processes in to the learners intended for. The researcher had done a thorough analysis of the science textbooks used in BRAC primary school to evaluate the textbooks. In the light of findings given above it seemed to be clear that the textbooks should pay more attention to how we can draw ideas from learners and facilitate them to discover scientific concepts through experiments, so that learners should become scientifically literate person.

As it was seen from the study that BRAC own textbooks are better than NCTB textbooks, the researcher recommend that BRAC should develop their own textbook of science for grade IV & V and revise the textbooks of grade I-III to ensure the quality of their textbooks. Besides, NCTB should revise their science textbooks of primary level to ensure the quality of science education. In the for recommendation part of the report the researcher had given some recommendations for revision and moderation of the textbooks.

The researcher thinks that the findings and recommendation of the study might give guidelines to the textbook developers to take necessary steps to ensure the quality of science education for making the learner a scientific literate person.

Recommendations
Regarding the findings, the following recommendations were made.

Recommendation for BRAC own textbooks –
1.    More writing exercises should be included in the textbook of grade I.
2.    Sufficient opportunity of practical work and creative work should be included in the textbook of grade II & III.
3.    Small, interesting stories about great scientist should be included in the content which is prescribed in curriculum. It will help developing scientific attitude among learners.
4.    Relevant contents and activities should be included for attaining missing competencies.

Recommendation for NCTB textbooks –

1.    Contents should be presented according to the maxims and theories of learning.
2.    Concepts those are abstract and incomprehensible for the learners intended for should be eliminated.
3.    Correct information should be provided and less necessary information should be avoided.
4.    Textbooks should be made up to date and more current information should be included.
5.    More scientific concepts should be included. Beside this, relevant scientific explanation of scientific concepts should be provided.
6.    Learning by doing should be emphasized.
7.    Adequate verbal and writing exercises should be included. Then, sufficient opportunity of practical work and creative work should be included in the textbook.
8.    The number and diversity of the examples should be increased.
9.    The textbook should not include examples that are over-difficult for the students and the examples should be ordered from simple to complex.
10.    Adequate colorful, attractive and clear illustrations should be included.
11.    The cover of the textbook should be redesigned more interestingly.
12.    The textbook should be made more sustainable by maintaining quality of paper and stitching.

Acknowledgment: I would like to express my deep gratitude to the RED-Educational Research Unit & BEP team of BRAC for their cordial support in this study. I also would particularly like to thank Mr. Goutam Roy, Research Associate of RED for his interest, support and encouragement. I am grateful to Mr. Samir Ranjan Nath, Research Coordinator of RED, for his continuous attention in this study. I also like to thank Dr. Siddiqur Rahman, Professor, Institute of Education and Research, University of Dhaka & Md. Jalal Uddin, Professor, Institute of Education and Research, University of Dhaka for their help in many stages especially on preparing tools for the study. Special thanks go to Ms. Umme Mustari, Lecturer, Institute of Education and Research, University of Dhaka for her help.

I would also like to thank my seniors Mr. Anwar Hossain, Ms. Nasima Akhter, Ms. Nazia Sharmin and Mr. M. Mahbubul Kabir at RED particularly for their help and inspiration.

Finally, I would like to thank all of my family, friends and well wishers for their constant encouragement and support. Above all I would like to offer my special thanks and gratitude to God who helped me to finished this study successively.


References
Gall, Meredith D (1942). Handbook for Evaluating and Selecting Curriculum Materials. Allyn and Bacon, Inc.

Nitko (1996). Educational Assessment of Students, Merrill Prentice Hall.

Yildirim, A. (2006). High School Textbooks in Turkey from Teachers’ and Students’ Perspectives: The Case of History Textbooks. Asia Pacific Education Review, Vol. 7, No. 2.

Chen J. and Chen J. C. QFD – based Technical Textbook Evaluation – Procedure and a Case. Journal of industrial technology, Vol. 18, No. 1 – Nov 2001 to Jan 2002.

Keser, H. and Aydın, B. (Undated). The Content Analysis of Sixth Grade Computer Textbooks, Ankara University, Turkey.

Omca E., Birgül and Karakaya C. Examination of the Biology Textbook for 10th Grades in High School Education and the Ideas of the Pre-service Teachers. World Conference on Educational Sciences 2009.

Mohiuddin A. H. M, Soma T. and Haque M. M. Curriculum and Textbook Analysis of Primary Science in Bangladesh. Primary Education Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1, June 2009.

Ehsan, Dr. Md. Abul (1997). Curriculum Development: Principle and Methodology, Dhaka, Bangladesh: Chhatra Bandhu Library.

Rana S. (2005). Comparison between Science Textbooks of Grade 5 of NCTB and BRAC Education Program: An unpublished M.Ed thesis. Institute of Education and Research, University of Dhaka.

National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) (2002). Curriculum Report (Revised), Vol. I, II , III (Primary Stage). Ministry of Education, Government of Bangladesh.

Millat, B. (1982). Curriculum Development. Dhaka: Bengal Academy.

BRAC (2008). Annual Report. Dhaka, Bangladesh: BRAC.


Annex

I.  Selected set of criteria for textbook evaluation (Nitko. 1996, Rana S. 2005, Ehsan. 1997)

1.    Curriculum related criteria
a)    Reflection of objectives
b)    Reflection of terminal competencies
c)    Reflection of attainable competencies
d)    Following guideline and instruction of curriculum

2.    Content related criteria
a)    Appropriateness of organization of content
b)    Appropriateness of sequencing units
c)    Presentation of content in attractive and interesting way
d)    Presentation of content according to the maxims and theories of learning
e)    Conformity to the prescribed syllabus
f)    Adequate subject matters to build up scientific concept
g)    Relevance to the need of society and nation
h)    Relevance to the need, ability, maturity, readiness and psychology of learner
i)    Reflection of the domains of behavior (Cognitive, Affective & Psychomotor)
j)    Accuracy and up-to-date-ness of concept
k)    Relation with life experience and previous knowledge of learners
l)    Free of sex stereotypes
m)    Avoidance of prejudicial and controversial facts

3.    Science related criteria
a)    Use of investigatory approach
b)    Development of scientific and logical approach
c)    Development of understanding of scientific concept
d)    Motivating thinking
e)    Scope of developing experimental and problem solving skill

4.    Illustration related criteria
a)    Adequacy and effectiveness of illustration
b)    Use of colorful (real) picture and illustration
c)    Providing necessary and relevant illustration and examples
d)    Use of illustration and example from learners’ environment
e)    Illustration from rural and urban environment
f)    Illustration provoking reflective thinking
g)    Appropriate placement of illustration
h)    Clearness and legibility of illustration

5.    Participation and activity related criteria
a)    Provision for theoretical and practical test
b)    Providing sufficient exercises for pupils activity
c)    Motivating learning by doing
d)    Scope of development of creativity of learner

6.    Language related criteria
a)    Comprehensibility and simple ness of language
b)    Readability of text
c)    Uniformity of spelling and terminology
d)    Correctness of spelling
e)    Use of comprehensible vocabulary

7.    Physical aspect related criteria
a)    Appropriateness of the format (size, bulk, layout of title page)
b)    Appropriateness of the typography (font size, face)
c)    Appropriateness of binding
d)    Appropriateness of title cover
e)    Suitability of stitching
f)    Appropriateness of printing legibility
g)    Absence of printing mistake
h)    Appropriateness of paper
i)    Sustainability and safety


Writer: Researcher, EIA-DU-OU Research Collaboration Programme, Institute of Education and Research(IER), University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh. Email: [email protected]

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