have been emphasized to be the most important tool in the teaching-learning process
of any school subject. They have been identified as one of the factors
affecting students’ learning outcomes. This study was aimed at carrying out a
content analysis on senior secondary school economics textbooks used in Enugu
state in order to find their adequacy of content coverage of the Economics
curriculum, ascertain their appropriateness of the illustrations, find their
appropriateness of verbal communication and also to ascertain their
appropriateness of the evaluation guide. Four research questions guided the
study. The literature was reviewed under the conceptual framework, theoretical frame
work and empirical framework. The sample of the study was three Economics
textbooks recommended by the Enugu state Ministry of Education. Qualitative
research design was adopted for this study. The senior secondary curriculum for
Economics was used alongside a textbook analysis guide adapted and developed as
the instruments for data collection. Three secondary school Economics teachers
were selected as research assistants to analyse the textbooks. The method of
data analysis was description and analysis of the information found in the
textbooks in order to answer the research questions. The major finding of the
study is that, none of the textbooks analysed covered the curriculum content
adequately. It was also discovered that all the textbooks were appropriate in
terms of illustrations, verbal communication and evaluation guide. Based on the
findings, some recommendations were made. It was recommended that, authors of
these Economics textbooks should endeavour to review and update them by
including all the newly introduced topics and concepts and make sure that the
content of each topic is adequate and up to date as well, government should
work together with stakeholders in education especially teachers in prescribing
textbooks for use in schools and recommendation of textbooks should be
appropriate by considering those textbooks that have a very good content
coverage of all the topics and all the attributes of readability such as
appropriate verbal language (simple, short and clear sentences), and
appropriate diagrams and pictures.
Background of study
A textbook is an educational resource or instrument. One of the major educational resources required for teaching and learning (of Economics) in Nigerian senior secondary schools is quality textbooks (Federal Government of Nigeria, 2004). The teaching and learning of Economics as a senior secondary school subject requires the use of Economics textbooks to achieve its objectives as enshrined in the National Policy on Education. A textbook can be seen as an important tool in the teaching-learning process of Economics and any other subject. It could be one among other factors affecting students’ learning outcomes. A textbook according to Jones (2007) is a book that contains information about a subject that students study. Also, it is a book that students use regularly during a set of lessons, textbooks treat subject comprehensively and is used by students as a basis for study. Ciftci, Cecen and Melanliogu (2007) defined textbooks as printed educational and instructional materials which are comprised of rich text equipped with cognitive and perceptive capabilities appropriate for age and knowledge levels of students and are prepared based on educational programme principles for transfer of knowledge to students. Williams (1983) says that the textbook is a tool and the teacher must know not only how to use, but also how useful it can be and so must use discretion in adapting textual materials to the need and interests of students. The textbook as an instructional tool is unique among all other instructional media due to its possession of certain characteristics. It is durable, permanent (not transient), portable and independent of electricity or electronic device when in use. It appears to be the oldest of instructional media. Due to its age-long existence and availability, it is common among teachers and learners more than any other medium. Moreover, textbooks have a prominent position in curriculum reform and are considered the most important tool for the implementation of a new curriculum in many countries (Valverde, Bianchi, Wolfe, Schmidt & Houang, 2002). While emphasising on textbook(s), Aggarwal (2001) stated that, classroom teaching activities depend heavily on the use of textbook especially in the institutions where the teachers are not well qualified. Aggarwal suggested guidelines upon which the relevance and adequacy of textbook features could be evaluated. They include; selection of content, organization of content, presentation of content, verbal communication (language) and visual Communication (illustration). To each of the items listed above, Aggarwal identified some specific features, thus; the selection of content consists of eight parameters which are; content must be relevant, there must be adequate coverage of the content, there must be adequate content of each topic, there should be authentic content, there should be up-to date content, there must be integrated content and there should be content linked with real life. Under organization of content, 3 parameters were identified thus; division into suitable unit, division into suitable sections and psychological approach to the content. The presentation of content should be attractive and have an appropriate title, motivating, creative and interesting content. Verbal communication (language) has four parameters thus, appropriate vocabulary, short and simple sentences, correct spelling and correct punctuation. Visual illustrations should be; suitable for the mental level of students, easily portable and up to date, motivate learners, relevant and purposeful, accurate, simple, and large enough for sight. Given the adequacy and relevance of these features, a textbook can be referred to as good.
There are some criteria for selecting a good textbook. Afolabi (2014) opined that in the selection or choice of a good textbook, the textbook must be well-graded, that is, suitable for the capability of the children for which it is intended. The facts must be simple, clear and logically set out, fit into child-centred education. For the general presentation format, Afolabi gave the following conditions; first, the textbook should be interesting, because it makes the learner interested in learning, well written and beautifully compiled so that it might win and retain users’ goodwill by virtue of more solid qualities. Secondly, it should be well-illustrated with attractive colour, inspiring drawings and photographs. It should be attractive, inviting, pleasant to look at and read, with well-chosen illustrations that are well connected and sequential. Thirdly, the textbook should be up-to-date in content, frequently revised and reprinted when necessary and lastly the textbook must be complete with its table of contents, illustrations, charts or other references. And for higher classes’ textbooks, Afolabi suggested inclusion of references at the end of each chapter for supplementary reading so as to inculcate in the learners the skill of comparison. It should also include the index. This is to give room for supplementary textbooks.
Textbooks play a large part in determining what is taught in secondary school classes and they stand out at the heart of educational enterprises. Teachers rely on them to set the parameters of instruction and to impart basic educational content. In schools, students’ school work often begins (and in some schools ends) with the textbook. Textbooks constitute the base of knowledge, particularly in the third world countries (like Nigeria) where there is a chronic shortage of qualified teachers, and online educational services (Naiz, 2001). This would make teachers who are poorly prepared to address the curriculum to rely heavily on textbooks for information and assignments. Since textbooks are very important in teaching and learning processes, they need to be critically evaluated to see whether they are meeting the expected goals of the National Policy on Education (NPE, 2008).
In Nigeria today, there are many (Economics) textbooks written by different authors, published and pushed into the market and schools. Additionally, many senior secondary schools offer Economics as an elective subject and there are some practical problems facing the teaching and learning of Economics ranging from obsolete textbooks with the exception of a few, and badly written Economics textbooks in Nigeria which are, sketchy and lack the in-depth content, they are largely descriptive, poorly illustrated, contain lots of inaccuracies and they are mostly produced in a hurry (Afolabi, 2014). Similarly, studies on textbooks have shown that some of them may contain incorrect information. Schwartzman (2008) in his study on South Korea’s elementary, middle and high school textbooks found out that eight of them contain incorrect information. In the same vein, Nomoto,Nonaka, Mizoue, Kobayashi and Jimba (2011) in their study on the content of health textbooks used in elementary, junior and high schools in some 14 countries, also found out that several current textbooks provide insufficient content and contain inaccurate or out of date health information. Given these problems associated with textbooks, there is a need to carry out a content analysis on Economics textbooks used in senior secondary schools in Nigeria in order to make sure they contain accurate and up to date information and are rich in content in terms of adequacy of content coverage, appropriateness of illustrations, verbal language and evaluation guide. Economics textbooks are a representative of the Economics curriculum. Textbooks which are given over-reliance by teachers are regarded as representing the intended curriculum (Flanders, 1994). Economics is one of the elective subjects to be studied at the Senior Secondary School level as prescribed by the National Policy on Education (2004). The curriculum is based on the principle of equipping Senior Secondary School graduates with basic knowledge and skills to appreciate the nature of economic problems in any society and adequately prepare them for the challenges in the Nigerian economy. The curriculum is designed thematically and structured in a spiral form to spread from Senior Secondary one level to Senior Secondary three levels (SS1-SS3) in a simple to complex way with in-built teachers and learners activities for each topic. The Economics curriculum reflects depth, appropriateness, and interrelatedness of the curricular contents. Also, emerging issues which covered value orientation, peace and dialogue, including human rights education, family life/ HIV and AIDS education, entrepreneurial skills et cetera were infused into the relevant contents of the new Senior Secondary Curriculum. In general, the curriculum pays particular attention to the millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the critical elements of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies (NEEDS). Since the curriculum represents the total experiences to which all learners must be exposed, the contents, performance objectives, activities for both teachers and learners, teaching and learning materials and evaluation guide are provided. The prescription represents the minimum content to be taught in the schools in order to achieve the objectives of the new Senior Secondary School programme. However, teachers are encouraged to enrich the contents with relevant materials and information from their immediate environment. Changes in Economics curriculum are supposed to be reflected to both textbooks used in Economics course and teaching activities of Economics teachers, so as to bring about the desired learning outcomes in students.