A Comparative Review GCSE Business Studies (Second Edition) Alain Anderton Causeway Press Ltd
Students' Book ISBN 1 873929 84 6 L13.95 240 pages
Teachers' Guide ISBN 1 873929 85 4 L29.95 176 pages
GCSE Business Studies (NEAB) Neil Denby & Peter Thomas Hodder & Stoughton ISBN 0 340 71212 0 L12.99 234 pages
The second edition of Anderton's popular GCSE textbook comes in units of either a double or four page spread. Each contains an introduction to the types of decisions businesses have to make, text, data questions, a summary case study, short answer checklist' questions and key terms. Each unit uses a business or an industry to illustrate the text, including Thames Water, Virgin, British Airways, The Body Shop, Sky Television and PepsiCo to name but a few. The pages are jam-packed with glossy photos, illustrations and text which can be a bit disconcerting for the less able, but visually stimulating to most.
The students' book is accompanied by a teachers' guide 176 pages of densely typed answers to all of the questions set in the text. There are an extra 8 examination style questions at the back of the book (with mark scheme and answers). Each has a foundation and higher tier version and cover core topics such as the legal organisation, size and internal organisation of business, business accounts, marketing, production and people in business. These are designed to be used as end of topic tests - a very useful resource whatever exam board you may be using.
Although intended to be an accompaniment to the NEAB GCSE Syllabus, Denby and Thomas' text could prove to be a useful resource for any GCSE Business Studies course (or GNVQ Foundation). The text (like Anderton) is divided into 8 sections with between 2 and 10 units in each. The units vary in length, but all contain an introduction, text, activities, codebreakers (key terms), handy hints on how to do better in examinations or coursework or on business methods and techniques, as well as Did you know ?' boxes containing extra useful information which provide a real world context for the text. Each activity is coded as either being written work, homework, an investigation, IT or as preparation for coursework and the questions are also marked to show the level of difficulty for ease of differentiation.
Both texts cover the subject core adequately, but if you are with a board (such as SEG) which has specialist options, you may find some sections missing or incomplete in both texts.
The acid test when comparing textbooks, I find, is to compare the approach taken to one unit preferably one which the pupils tend to find more difficult - such as break even analysis.
Anderton begins with a quite lengthy introduction to budgets, the example of a small firm selling Russian Lamps is used to highlight the various costs and revenues that a firm may have. A detailed activity follows, which makes use of spreadsheets. The questions are not easily accessible to the less able - they go straight into comparing budgets, and producing budgets for future years and the questions are not stepped in order of difficulty. The activity would be challenging to the more able, but I could imagine some not being able to answer the first question. The actual explanation for break even charts is very wordy - the figures are included in sentences rather than in list form which can be very confusing and there is only one graph which shows all of the lines put together straight away. However, the context is good and there is a Data question based on The Lakeland Hotel and a Case Study on Stayfresh Bakeries.
Denby and Thomas' introduction is a lot simpler, and relatively short, using the more accessible example of a hairdressers. There is a clear definition of the break even point and it explains how to calculate it using formulae alone (not in Anderton). There is also a handy hints' section which explains the importance of always showing your workings. …