Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

AQA Business Studies B, 2nd Edition / GCSE Business Studies for AQA

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

AQA Business Studies B, 2nd Edition / GCSE Business Studies for AQA

Article excerpt

AQA BUSINESS STUDIES B, 2nd edition, Neil Denby and Peter Thomas, Hodder and Stoughton, 2001, paperback, 230 pages, 14.99, ISBN 0 340 80116 6, Tel.Tel. 01235 827720.

GCSE BUSINESS STUDIES for AQA, Alain Anderton, Causeway Press, 2001, paperback, 240 pages, 14.95, ISBN 1 902796 29 2, and associated Teachers' Guide, 173 pages, 35, ISBN 1 902796 30 6,Tel. 01695 576048.

GCSE textbooks have changed. The question is whether market oriented publishers are matching the needs of their customers more closely, or are we into monopolistic sub-markets? Instead of general coverage of GCSE Business Studies, texts are now designed to match the needs of particular market segments or specifications.

Both titles are updates of well known textbooks. I have used Anderton in the past but as a faculty we recently changed to Denby and Thomas. The most obvious feature of both is their association with a particular AQA specification. The preface to the Anderton text makes the point that, since the content of all specifications is broadly similar, it can be used for any specification. However, the temptation to go for the text related to a specification may be the most important determinant of textbook choice; hence my question above.

Denby was originally associated with the NEAB Business Studies syllabus. Now both books follow the order of their particular specifications, in the case of Anderton to the extent both of main topics and sub-headings. There is little doubt that they cover the material required in great detail. Anderton covers the material for the A specification options with additional units, while Denby claims to be suitable for both the full and short course of the B specification.

The Anderton text continues the well tried format of a double page to a unit. This is probably quite motivating for students and teachers; there is a distinct satisfaction in turning over a page and mentally ticking another box. This edition is divided into colour coded sections for ease of use. The great strength of Anderton's book has always been its range of case studies, which are generally interesting and relevant. This edition maintains the tradition with material which can be used in a variety of ways in class or for homework. Colour is also well used to divide up the information into sections and make it manageable. There are key terms and checklist questions to review understanding. With direction, students could certainly use these for revision.

Denby and Thomas follows the Business Studies B specifications very closely. Again, the pages are subdivided, with bright sub-headings, though the lay-out is more traditional. There is a useful introduction, explaining to students how to use the book, with a colour coded scheme for different types of help. My feeling is that students will need to be directed to look at this - or perhaps other people's students are unlike my own!

Some of the drawings have a faintly old fashioned look to them. The pictures mostly relate well to the text though some do not add hugely to student understanding, e.g. the merest mention of the name Heinz accompanied by a disproportionately large picture of one of their products (ketchup) in a section on aims and objectives. Like Anderton, important terms are defined in boxes, here called 'codebreakers'. There is also a 'points to remember' summary at the end of each unit which helps student learning and is a good revision aid.

Both books meet the need for a variety of sources to be selected, organised and interpreted through the use of statistical and graphical data as background to the text and question stimulus, though it would be good to see this developed further. …

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