out the study. The strengths and weaknesses of the coursebook were specified in terms of thirteen common criteria extracted from various evaluation checklists. In this study, Iranian first year high school English coursebook was assessed in terms of theoretical background and content analysis. The study was conducted at four high schools in Tabriz, Iran. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were employed in their study. One-hundred and twenty-six male and female EFL learners participated in the study. The data were obtained via a questionnaire including thirty-four close-ended questions that were related to seven topics of the coursebook such as the layout or physical make-up, vocabulary, topics and content, grammar points and exercises, language skills, pronunciation practice, and language function and social and cultural activities. Qualitative data were collected through interviews with thirteen teachers and some selected students. Data analysis displayed that there has to be enough opportunities for students to work communicatively. It also indicated that this coursebook cannot meet the Iranian teachers’ and learners’ needs and they are not appropriate for them. They came to a conclusion that since the English coursebook 1 is structure-based, the authors of the book ought to modify it by using more communicative tasks to satisfy both teachers and learners.
Soleimani and Ghaderi (2013) aimed at evaluating two well-known coursebooks used in language classrooms in Iran from Iranian EFL teachers’ perspective. To do so, two EFL coursebooks, Interchange series and American English File, were chosen for assessment, seeking teachers’ point of view on the effectiveness of the books. Thirty Iranian EFL teachers who had the experience of teaching these coursebooks took part in this study. Litz’s (2000) teacher textbook evaluation was employed for data collection. Data analysis indicated that the teachers were content with the two books. In addition, there was not a significant difference in four features such as practical considerations, layout and design, activities, and skills, but the difference was significant in language type as well as subject and content.
Rezaee, Kouhpaeenejad, and Mohammadi (2013) evaluated two series of ELT coursebook: Interchange (3rdedition) and Top-Notch (2nd edition). Forty-two male and female Iranian EFL learners who were chosen from different proficiency levels participated in the present study. They were divided into two groups for completing the questionnaires. For carrying out the evaluation, Litz’s (2000) coursebook evaluation questionnaire was employed. The results of the study showed that the difference between the two series was not significant.
In another study, Sabzalipour and Mousavi (2013) evaluated the first year English coursebook taught at Iranian high schools from students’ views. To this end, they developed a questionnaire with forty items according to eight criteria including content, physical appearance, exercises and activities, clarity of instructions, level of textbooks, vocabulary, grammar, consideration of learning style differences in the textbooks. The study was carried out at four high schools in Tonekabon, Iran. Two-hundred and seventy-three students took part in the study. The researchers examined the attitudes of the students toward the coursebook to know their attitudes toward it. Data analysis indicated that the students had positive perspective about the book.
Gholampour, BagherzadehKasmani, and Talebi (2013) evaluated textbooks in junior high schools and English language institutes from multiple intelligence perspective. The researchers attempted to identify the extent each coursebook considers various types of intelligences. One the other hand, if we know the strengths and shortcomings of the coursebooks, teachers can employ the supplementary materials or teaching skills. When the coursebooks are evaluated from multiple intelligence perspective, their strengths and weaknesses are identified. Even though there were some strengths in the books, the researchers suggested that writers of the books should develop some new versions of these coursebooks in which they ought to employ these strengths. In this way, they can increase multiple intelligence variety as much as possible.
Such being the case, the present study attempts to fill the gap in the literature by examining the effectiveness of major coursebooks from the perspective of Iranian EFL teachers and students to contribute to the body of knowledge in this area. Since these textbooks are widely accepted in Iranian EFL context and many language teachers use the coursebooks in their classes, it is essential to find out what they think of the coursebooks. In addition, discovering the shortcomings of the coursebooks might make them more aware of the restrictions of the coursebooks and hence take actions to compensate for them.
This chapter presents the research methodology applied in the present study. It provides information on the participants and how they were selected, research instruments and materials, data collection procedures and methods of data analysis.
The participants of this study were selected from various language institutes of Gilan and Mazandaran provinces in which the coursebooks under investigation were taught. For each coursebook, three institutes were selected randomly. 366 students and 76 teachers (Interchange: 100 students and 20 teachers; Top Notch: 100 students and 20 teachers; English Result: 73 students and 16 teachers; and Total English: 93 students and 20 teachers) participated in this study. 212 of the students and 35 of the teachers were male and 154 of the students and 41 of the teachers were female. The range of teachers’ experience of teaching the coursebook was between 2-6 years and the range of students’ experience of studying the coursebook was between 1-3 years.
3.2Instruments and Materials
The instruments and materials employed in this study are as follows: (a) students’ and teachers’ checklists modified based on Cunningsworth (1995) (b) Four coursebooks including New Interchange, Top Notch, English Result, and Total English (the selection of which based on five most popular Iranian publications’ statistics for best-selling English coursebooks)
The checklist employed in the present study was developed mainly from Cunningsworth’s (1995) checklist after tailoring it to meet the objectives of this study. Some of the items of the questionnaire were modified and some were removed from the questionnaire since they did not suit Iran’s context. These modifications were made based on the interviews that the researcher had with four TEFL experts. Cunningsworth (1995) proposed that as “different criteria will apply in different circumstances” (p. 2), teachers or researchers ought to specify their own priorities and prepare their own checklists. Sheldon (1988) stated that “any culturally restricted, global list of criteria can never really apply in most local environments, without considerable modification” (p. 242). Therefore, the items of the cultural section of the questionnaire were taken from Shatery and Azargoon’s (2012) nativized checklist.
The checklist used in the study includes 53 criteria in 14 categories: content, grammar, vocabulary, phonology, language skills, methodology, study skills, visuals, practice and testing, supplementary material, objectives, content selection, gradation, and culture. It was used to indicate participants’ opinions regarding the four coursebooks under investigation. A four-point multiple-choice Likert scale format, ranging 1-4, was used to show the participants’ level of agreement with a list of statements. Each statement was weighted equally (1 point for each strongly disagree, 2 points for each disagree, 3 points for each agree, and 4 points for each strongly agree). All
scores were converted to percentile rankings (0-100%).
Students and teachers completed the same version of checklist, to allow for comparison across groups, although the teachers’ version included some additional items. One of the benefits of employing a single questionnaire was avoiding linguistic and cultural biases, and also achieving results which were as precise as possible. While both questionnaires included nine common categories (statements 1-30)- content, grammar, vocabulary, phonology, language skills, methodology, study skills, visuals, and practice and testing- the teachers’ questionnaire had five additional categories: supplementary material, objectives, content selection, gradation, and culture(statements 31-53). Both questionnaires had an open-ended section where participants were given the opportunity to write their own comments or suggestions regarding the coursebook. Finally, the researcher reviewed the coursebook thoroughly to provide a descriptive analysis of the 14 categories.
In addition to English statements, students’ checklist was accompanied by Persian translation of the statements in order to remove any ambiguities for students in understanding the statements of the questionnaire. In order to ensure the validity of the checklist’s translation, the researcher asked a translation expert to translate the questionnaire into Persian. The Persian translations were translated into English by three experts. The comparison of these three translated checklists with the original one showed no considerable difference; therefore, it was concluded that the Persian translation of the checklist was valid.
22.214.171.124 Pilot study
In order to estimate how reliable the use of the checklist is, the researcher administered the checklist to the pilot group of 30 students and 30 teachers. Cronbach`s Alpha was used for the computation of the internal consistency of the checklist. The