A comparative study of lower secondary mathematics textbooks from the Asia Pacific region
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The rationale behind this study concerns the issues school administrators and teachers of expatriate students face over the progress and placement of the growing number of these students in mathematics classrooms in various countries brought about by the demographical changes occurring in this globalization era. This study aimed to present a method of examining lower secondary school mathematics textbooks with the purpose of evaluating students' expected past learning and comparing students' expected mathematics learning across the different curricula. It is anticipated that such an investigation will be of value to those responsible for the correct level of placement of these students.Six sets of textbooks from four countries on the Asia-Pacific rim, namely Australia, Brunei, China and Singapore, were selected for this study. The textbook content of each country was analyzed in terms of strand weighting and content details, and then coupled with information gained from interviews with teachers. This led to the findings which addressed the various issues raised.The findings facilitated a comparison of the learning paths offered by the various textbooks, fleshed out the differences and similarities of the various curricula and made available detailed comparisons of the textbooks' content in terms of topics covered. The analytical procedure of the examination of text content as presented in this study is itself a diagnostic technique for assessment of the students' past learning, which addressed the main objective of the study.The findings will be of interest to all who are interested in the mathematics taught in the countries involved.Outcomes will be particularly useful to curriculum planners and textbook writers as well as the administrators and teachers of International Schools and other schools enrolling expatriate students from these countries. The study offers a 'simplistic' way of evaluating textbooks to assess students' learning progress, and highlights the traits of the countries' curricula to provide a general idea of the mathematics ability expected from the expatriate students residing in these countries.
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