Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Evaluation of High School Geography 9 and High School Geography 11 Text Books with Some Formulas of Readability

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Evaluation of High School Geography 9 and High School Geography 11 Text Books with Some Formulas of Readability

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to evaluate readability of 9th and 11th grade geography text-books currently used in schools. As known, one of the most fundamental features in a text-book is the readability of the text by students. In addition, it is also very important that the fluency and suitability of books match age level. In this study, the CLOZE and FOG tests were used to test the readability of geography textbooks. While the CLOZE test and FLESH formula give information largely on the level of readability of books, the FOG and SMOG formulas are being used to determine the suitability of books for age level of students. However, these tests and formulae have been developed in accordance with the grammar structure of English on the basis of lengths of syllables, words, and sentences. Thus, the Turkish application may show some anomalies. In this study, previously adopted and translated to Turkish version of the original tests and formula were applied. As conclusion, this study shows that the readability of the 9th and 11th grade geography books in Turkey is very low with respect to the CLOSE test, in medium strength with respect to the FLESH test. With respect to the FOG and SMOG tests, texts in the books are not suitable for age level of students.

Key Words

Geography Textbooks, Readability, CLOZE and FOG Tests, FLESH and SMOG Formulas.

Providing transfer of knowledge to next generations, textbooks are the leading sources most frequently referred to by teachers as well. According to a research, 85-90% of the content referred to in social sciences is obtained from textbooks and resource books (Myers & Savage, 2005, p. 18). Covering all the items of the curriculum makes these resources the most preferred ones (Büyükalan, 2003, p. 117). Besides their features such as having different functions compared to other course tools and their ease of use, the fact of our country not having adequate capacity in terms of other course tools and materials provide a basis for textbooks for being widely used.

Textbooks constitute the most fundamental source of reference for students. They are printed educational and instructional materials comprised of rich texts equipped with cognitive and perceptive capabilities appropriate for age and knowledge levels of students, prepared on the basis of principles on which education programs are grounded, and transferring the contained knowledge to students (Çiftçi, Çeçen & Melanlioglu, 2007, p. 206). These books are at the same time the most important tools enabling the individual to work independently and repeat the information for many times (Ünsal & GüneS, p. 388). On the other hand, they arrange the knowledge students possess and improve their memories, develop and strengthen future generations in individual, social, economic, ideological and cultural respects (GüneS, 2002, p. 3). Textbooks are described as follows under Textbooks Regulations, Article 4 Ministry of National Education (Amended: 1.9.2006/26276): "They are printed works with content prepared in line with academic curriculum to be used in formal and non-formal education institutions and which could be produced in chapters when necessary" (Milli Egitim Bakanligi [MEB], 2009).

Students can only encounter with books or texts via textbooks, particularly in countries such as Turkey where the rate of reading books is not quite high (TekSan & GüneS, 2006, p. 459). Just this point by itself is a clear evidence for the importance of the mission assumed by textbooks. Therefore, texts in the textbooks should be perfect and appropriate for the relevant level (Çiftçi et al., 2007, p. 207). It is significantly important for these books to be easily comprehended by students, for the information contained in the books to be meaningful for them, remembered for a long time, correlated with life whenever necessary; in short, it is important that these data be converted to knowledge and practice. …

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