The Cambridge Approach To Textbooks

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orangeThe Cambridge Approachto TextbooksbluePrinciples for designing high-quality textbook and resource materialsMarch 2016– revisedApril 2017The CambridgeApproachto Textbooks 1

ContentsSection1234567The Cambridge ApproachCambridge Assessment, its principles and valuesIntroduction to the Cambridge ApproachUsing the principlesSystematic accumulation of best practiceThe principlesAnnexReading this documentWe have divided this document into sections to make it easy to read.Sections 1 to 5 provide background to the Cambridge Approach.Section 6 gives details of the principles which make up the Cambridge Approach.Section 7 is an annex providing examples of the principles in practice.The Cambridge Approach was drawn up by Tim Oates CBE, Group Director of Assessment Research andDevelopment. Any queries relating to this document should be addressed to him.Acknowledgements and thanksThe first phase of the research on textbooks across the world was undertaken with the support of the Ministerial teamworking on the review of the National Curriculum in England – they did a great job in locating and bringing together a libraryof textbooks. Ministerial engagement with the issue of textbook quality has been an important element of the work.Thanks must go to publishers, and to their associations, who have given extraordinary support to Cambridge Assessment’sengagement with the issue of textbook quality. It has been a huge pleasure working with Caroline Wright (British EducationalSuppliers Association) and Emma House (The Publishers Association). It was very good to work intensively with Dr DebbieMorgan (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics – NCETM) on textbook quality and her insights havebeen extremely helpful. Dame Celia Hoyles (NCETM) also provided unstinting support at the beginning of the research.Publishers and educational experts in a range of countries have given their time to answering our questions about the historyof development and implementation of materials in specific country contexts. Particular thanks go to Joy Tan and Lee FeiChen in Singapore, Sirkka Ahonen in Finland, Vice-Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin in Thailand and colleagues from the AEONazarbayev Intellectual Schools in Kazakhstan.The refinement of Cambridge Assessment’s criteria and principles was supported by a range of colleagues in CambridgeAssessment and Cambridge University Press, and thanks go to: Carolyn Tiller, Rachel Wood, Muriel Dahan, Juliet Kennard,Anne Smith (Cambridge International Examinations), Emma Nightingale (Oxford Cambridge and RSA) and Jane Mann andMichael McGarvey (Cambridge University Press).The drafting of the criteria has been hugely assisted by Anne Sparrowhawk (Cambridge International Examinations), whosesound advice and support have been continuous throughout.Finally, thanks to Philippa Bateman and to Bene’t Steinberg and the Group Public Affairs team at Cambridge Assessment forthe intensive work on draft preparation and dissemination.2 The Cambridge Approach to Textbooks

1Section 1The Cambridge ApproachCambridge Assessment has contributed to fundamental work on the educationalrole of high-quality learning materials, and its exam boards naturally are involved incollaborative work with educational publishers. Our wide-ranging international analysisof high-quality materials has led to a better understanding both of the link betweenassessment and learning materials and of the principles and criteria which we shoulduse in our discussions with publishers.Cambridge is very aware of the extent to which assessment can determine thepattern and content of learning, and our work on ‘curriculum coherence’ emphasisesthe importance of alignment between curriculum aims, pedagogy, learning materialsand assessment. This document is designed to contribute to this process ofpositive alignment.The principles and criteria we outline here are evidence driven, deriving from analysisof hundreds of textbooks and other resources from around the world. Throughout theresearch and creation of these guidelines we constantly have been in discussion withpublishers and authors whose support has greatly strengthened the criteria – we thankthem for their support and their commitment to collaboration.This Cambridge Approach offers a route to higher quality, to a better linkage betweenlearning and assessment, and thus promises gains in learning – a key ambition for all ofus involved in education and educational improvement.Simon LebusGroup Chief Executive‘The Cambridge Approachoffers a route to higher quality,to a better linkage betweenlearning and assessment, andthus promises gains in learning’The Cambridge Approach to Textbooks 3

2Section 2Cambridge Assessment,our principles and valuesAt Cambridge Assessment, our purpose is to help learners demonstrate and fulfil theirpotential. We care about making a difference for every learner.As a department of the University of Cambridge, we provide education programmesand exams in over 170 countries offering global recognition. We unlock the power ofeducation for millions of learners of all ages and abilities.We have unrivalled depth of experience in national education systems, internationaleducation and English language learning. We are an international not-for-profitorganisation with unique strengths and 160 years of expertise. Our qualifications arebacked by the largest research capability of its kind.We support and learn from teachers, schools and governments. Together, we areshaping education and creating a confident future for learners and a real and lastingimpact on the world.Helping learners demonstrate and fulfil their potentialAdmissions TestingOxford Cambridge and RSAFor all learners and teachersof English languageFor UK learners in schools,colleges and trainingFor all learners andteachers of internationaleducation programmesFor learners enteringinto higher educationResearch, consultancy & professional developmentOrganisational structure of the Cambridge Assessment GroupOur research underpins all our qualifications and education programmes. AcrossCambridge Assessment we have a team of more than 100 researchers, which makes ourresearch capability the largest of its kind. It is this research strength that enables us tohelp teachers, learners and governments stay at the forefront of education and unlockits power.But our research is not just about ensuring our qualifications and services are the verybest for learners. It’s also designed to add to knowledge and understanding aboutassessment in education, both nationally and internationally. We also carry out researchfor governments and agencies to inform their education reform programmes. It’s allwith one goal in mind – helping learners.4 The Cambridge Approach to Textbooks

We strive to open doors for learners, to unlock the power of education and give themthe confidence to thrive. We work with many national educational organisationsand ministries through our international organisations, Cambridge English LanguageAssessment and Cambridge International Examinations. We work to improve standardsof education, creating opportunity for learners around the world.Cambridge Assessment has a high number of experts, with proven experience incurriculum and assessment design, and as a part of the University of Cambridge hasaccess to world-leading resources, skills and research. We work in collaboration withinstitutions such as University of Cambridge Faculty of Education, Cambridge UniversityPress and Fluentify to offer a comprehensive service to our partners.In the UK we have been working with industry leaders to develop real industry projectsfor our Cambridge Technical and Cambridge National qualifications to give learners ahead start in their chosen career.3Section 3Introduction tothe Cambridge ApproachCambridge Assessment has undertaken a wide-ranging analysis of textbooks and learningmaterials from a set of high-performing jurisdictions around the world. This examinednot only the form and features of the materials, but also their role in supporting effectivelearning and assessment. The work made clear the role of textbooks in supporting theschool curriculum – helping sequence learning in schools and supporting teachers inunderstanding the depth of treatment of each topic. It made clear the role of textbooksin improving equity in education – providing clear, varied and well-researched materialswhich help a wide range of students gain insight into subjects.The work revealed important examples of how textbooks and allied materials can drawon the best lessons in schools and make these widely available; can reduce teacherworkload; can use assessment to better prepare children for the next block of learning;can enhance home–school links; and can stimulate deep, secure learning.The insights from the research have been used not only to develop more deliberatestrategy on textbook development and use in various nations, but to create a newgeneration of clear, well-structured materials which combine carefully key features and‘information elements’: pre-assessment, intense focus on core concepts, exemplificationand worked examples, practice activities, review and reflection on learning.A number of discussions around the world have highlighted the structural role oftextbooks in arrangements, and on occasion policy-makers and commentators havementioned the difficulties and delays in effecting improvement in textbooks. Our recentwork with publishers suggests that enhancement of textbooks can in fact be effectedrelatively rapidly, in comparison with many other forms of improvement strategy. OneUK publisher took the detailed recommendations from our international research andThe Cambridge Approach to Textbooks 5

developed a highly innovative set of GCSE textbooks and linked digital materials inunder two years – an impressive achievement, managing carefully the balance betweenquality and timeframe.Throughout these criteria, we emphasise the importance of accumulation of evidenceand insights, combined with sustainable supply of high-quality materials. We examinedmarket forms and approval mechanisms in a range of jurisdictions, and used these indrawing up this document.These criteria are focussed on partnership working with publishers. However, CambridgeAssessment recognises that supply-side attention to quality is enhanced by demandside pressures for quality – from teachers, pupils and parents.In our work around the world, we found that Reynolds’ and Farrell’s1 insight from theirtransnational comparisons of 1996 still holds true: that it is the best teachers who arethe most supportive of the use of high-quality textbooks and materials. These principlesfollow the Cambridge Assessment commentary on the role and function of high-qualitytextbooks in enhancing learning and system performance – Why Textbooks Count. Thisis available on the Cambridge Assessment website.4Section 4Using the principlesThe principles presented here are the result of forensic dissection of the elements ofhigh-quality material, highlighting the ‘information elements’ and design features uponwhich Cambridge Assessment and its partner publishers should focus.These principles are laid out as a series of criteria and questions. They supportpublishers in reflecting on those things which should be considered when materials arebeing conceived and commissioned, and enable Cambridge Assessment to engage inproductive discussions with publishers. The principles do not assume that materials canbe of only one type or form – they are not an overly rigid or restrictive set of rules.As emphasised above, the principles have been derived from extensive transnational studyof high-quality materials. Analysis by Cambridge Assessment has shown that high-qualitylearning materials have played a key role in improvement of education arrangementsand in sustaining quality. Even when apparently simple in form, learning materials carrycomplex functions – from ensuring transmission of best practice, to encouraging effectiveacquisition and development, by pupils, of key ideas and core content.These principles focus on paper-based materials. They apply to aspects of digitalmaterials, but are not designed comprehensively to determine all aspects of highquality digital materials and the potential they offer. Cambridge Assessment isdeveloping further principles that apply to digital materials.1Reynolds, D. and Farrell, S. (1996) Worlds Apart?: A Review of International Surveys of EducationalAchievement Involving England. H.M. Stationery Office.6 The Cambridge Approach to Textbooks

The principles are based on the study of the highest quality materials around theworld, brought together into a coherent list. We recognise that the principles are bothdemanding and extensive. Depending on the specific form and function of materials beingdeveloped, not all the criteria will apply. But publishers readily can work through the listto examine which features they are including in their materials, and those they are not.We recognise that materials go through processes of development and refinement, andthat they legitimately can change shape as they are being developed – adding a studentworkbook, increasing links to online resources, and so on. Not all the criteria have tobe fully met from day one. But we believe that materials should be developed in fulllight of all the criteria we present here, as a means to securing a well-managed anddeliberate development process.We looked not only at textbooks around the world, and their development, but alsothe state of textbook research. Until recently, textbook research essentially has fallenout of favour in the UK, although there continued some isolated strands of work andrich seams of intensive research in certain subjects such as mathematics. But this ‘leyperiod’ contrasts with the situation globally, where approval centres and active evaluationprogrammes have remained vigorous. These principles have been developed in the lightof, and can be used alongside the more subject-specific research on task design in specificsubjects, subject progressions, core knowledge, vocabulary and definitions, etc.Brief note on termsThroughout this document, for brevity we have used the terms schools, pupils andteachers. By using schools we would include the full range of institutions involved inlearning: early years settings, colleges, training centres and all other settings throughoutformal and continuing learning. By using pupils we would include all learners, at allphases of education and training. By using teachers we would include all those involvedin supporting, managing and enhancing the learning process.5Section 5Systematic accumulation of bestpractice – evidence-based andresearch-based materialsWe believe in both innovation and stability – these genuinely can co-exist in a carefullymanaged way. Materials should represent accumulating knowledge of high quality inlearning and assessment, and be refined through systematic monitoring and evaluation.Those elements of materials which can be improved should be, within appropriateschedules, and those which function well and represent high-quality practice should beretained. Faddish and arbitrary change should be resisted. New developments – a guideto parents, a new practice book, some new online activities – can of course be addedwhere they show promise. In Singapore, maths textbooks constantly are evaluatedand refinements are discussed with the office responsible for textbook approval. InThe Cambridge Approach to Textbooks 7

Shanghai, outstanding, model lessons are identified by teacher research groups anda small set of the best selected for inclusion in the next edition of the textbooks. Ourhistorical and transnational analysis shows that this careful balance of stability andinnovation is a feature of materials development in a range of high-performing andrapidly improving systems.The principles are designed to apply to materials which are apparently simple in form,right through to those which are both complex in themselves and are part of complexsuites of paper and digital materials, and to materials right across all phases of learning.Example: a highly refined, apparently simple but intensively research-basedseries of books to support early readingThe materials we analysed included a book to support reading, consisting of a collectionof very short 30–50-word stories. Apparently simple in form, every element of thebook – including picture–text relation, layout and size of print – is based on decisionswhich derive from research on acquisition of reading. Of particular importance, thespecific text is based on a particular model of attention duration and persistenceregarding initial reading; each book is part of a research-based progression across initialacquisition to more advanced stages of reading; and in every instance, all language iscarefully located at the same level of demand regarding decoding. The picture–textrelation is controlled through a specific model which emphasises interest rather thansubstitution of text decoding.Example: complex suites of materials for secondary school provisionOur analysis included very large secondary texts, complex in form and part of largesuites of materials: a teacher handbook, a textbook, a student workbook, with linkedonline assessment and learning resources. As with the apparently simple materialsoutlined above, the function, order and clarity of these complex materials is determinedby an underlying learning model, and a strong research base to each of the informationelements and devices in the text.Example: a reader to support a specific course of study and examinationIn secondary education, an apparently simple reader (selected texts in a discipline),with texts chosen by subject experts, to explain and illustrate core ideas in thediscipline. This can provide a very clear and well-structured textbook, designed tosupport careful accumulation of essential concepts. Its function deliberately is veryfocussed – acquisition and understanding of very specific ideas. The text is deliberatelyparsimonious – a selection of ‘essential background reading’ to underpin classroom andother learning activities.These examples emphasise the importance of ‘organising principles’ for all materials,clarity in purpose, and the need for evidence-based decisions in respect of all aspects ofthe materials.8 The Cambridge Approach to Textbooks

Clear statement of purpose and use: a ‘supporting statement’ by publishers, aspart of the development processThe exam boards in the Cambridge Assessment Group work closely with publishersin order to ensure that examinations are supported by high-quality materials. This‘principles’ document is designed to support collaborative activity with publishers.Individual exam boards may have more detailed and subject-specific ‘endorsement’requirements which will be applied in conjunction with these principles. The criteriaoutlined here presuppose the production of two things: the learning materialsthemselves and a supporting statement on the form, content and proposed use of thematerials. The ‘supporting statement’ is important: it enables scrutiny of the models,evidence and processes used for developing the materials.Clear statement of purpose and use in the materials themselvesThe criteria do not determine the extent to which the materials themselves includeclear statements of purpose. However, high-quality materials typically include a ‘howthis should be used and how this should be read’ walk-through section. These ‘walkthrough statements’ give clear guidance on how the materials should be used, andhow the different information elements should be used and interpreted – e.g. workedexamples, practice activities, etc.6Section 6The principlesSECTION AAims and purposesSECTION BDomain and construct – content specificationSECTION CBroader educational models driving the m

2 The Cambridge Approach to Textbooks 1 The Cambridge Approach 2 Cambridge Assessment, its principles and values 3 Introduction to the Cambridge Approach 4 Using the principles 5 Systematic accumulation of best practice 6 The principles 7 Annex Reading this document We have divided this document into sections to make it easy to read. Sections 1 to