Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation


Formative Evaluation of Textbooks and Workbooks

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Curriculum resources, Evaluation research, Textbooks


Textbooks and workbooks have long been considered a critical challenge within the South African education system. The Department of Basic Education, South Africa (DBE) undertook a major initiative to provide Mathematics and Language workbooks to learners in order to accelerate progress towards Education for All, in terms of access to and quality of education. The DBE, with support from UNICEF, commissioned the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) to undertake an independent formative evaluation of workbooks and textbooks in South Africa in the period April 2012 – February 2013. The evaluation of the Workbook project was formative. The study was separated into three parts; (a) a large-scale study drawing on a representative sample of schools, (b) three school case studies and (c) a desk review of workbooks and textbooks. The study focused on Grades 3, 6 and 9 for the workbook evaluation, and data related to the Grade 10 textbooks came from classroom observations and the desk review. The study found that barriers to full utilisation of the workbooks can be summarised as late or no workbook delivery, lack of communication with schools and parents regarding the aims and objectives of the workbooks, lack of formal assessment and monitoring, and errors or perceived errors in the workbooks.



Geographic Subject

South Africa

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