necessary for achieving their academic aims. In addition, he figured out that the materials do not motivate learners since they do not have enough attractive visual aids, which is IELTS preparation materials’ main shortcoming.
Litz (2000) attempted to assess a coursebook called English Firsthand 2. He concluded that English Firsthand 2 is approximately new in comparison with plenty of ELT coursebooks which are now accessible on the market. Although English Firsthand 2 is not as popular as other well-known series of coursebooks, it has characteristics which are worth noting. For instance, the whole coursebook package includes various helpful supplementary materials. The coursebook is also attractive and organized in a clear and coherent way. Moreover, it prevents a multi-skills syllabus and it integrates all four skills without ignoring other significant aspects of language like vocabulary building. In spite of its strengths, this coursebook has some weaknesses. For example, many activities of the book are repetitive, unable to carry out meaningful practice, and provide realistic discourse.
In South Korea, Ranalli (2002) tried to assess New Headway Upper-Intermediate, one of the coursebooks utilized at Foreign Language Institute of Yunsei University in Seoul. After analyzing the data, Ranalli came to the conclusion that New Headway is a well-designed book that gives the learner a great deal of learning. The book’s focus is on oral communication, while a great balance of work on accuracy and fluency is suggested. The book has helpful and relevant language input, particularly the input concentrating on grammar and vocabulary, though the variety of language is not perfect. The primary shortcoming of the coursebook is in its methodology that is restrictive to some extent. In addition, speaking is not emphasized enough in the book. Ranalli came to this conclusion that the book’s strengths outweigh its shortcomings and these shortcomings can be overcome by using supplementary books.
In another study, Melo (2003) sought to evaluate True Colors, a coursebook taught in Brazil. She investigated the degree to which the series reflect the needs of Brazilian language learners as perceived by the teachers. Melo concluded that the teachers are not highly content with the series for several reasons. One of the reasons is that the series did not sound to be interesting to the students due to repetitious lessons. In addition, the series did not include enough exercises.
Çakit (2006) evaluated New Bridge to Success 3, an intermediate coursebook prepared by Ministry of National Education for grade nine of high school students from both teachers’ and students’ perspective. The evaluation of the coursebook was carried out at macro level based on eleven criteria. Thirty-three students and eight teachers participated in the study. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through student questionnaires and teacher interviews. For each item, descriptive statistics like frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviations were calculated to describe how students rated the coursebook. Teachers’ interviews were transcribed, content analyzed and categorized based on the eleven criteria employed in this study for the assessment of the coursebook. The findings indicated that most of the students and teachers did not have positive views about most of the features of this book. In addition, data analysis revealed that reading texts have to be simplified in terms of vocabulary and grammar. All teachers and most students stated that the coursebook’s level was not suitable for particular age groups. It also showed that the coursebook was not successful in considering learning style preferences of the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. In contrast, one of the strong points of this coursebook was up-to-date art which is helpful for learners to understand the lesson.
Dawood Al-Yousef (2007) assessed the Third Grade Intermediate English Coursebook in Saudi Arabia, Say It in English, which was developed by the Ministry of Education in Riyadh. Both quantitative and qualitative data analysis were used for assessing the coursebook including interviews/ document analysis and questionnaires from the perspectives of students, teachers, supervisors, and policymakers. One- hundred eighty-four students, teachers and supervisors responded to Textbook Evaluation Tool, both online and through paper-and-pencil. The Textbook Evaluation Tool consists of fifty items in fourteen sections. The finding of the study indicated that all the participants of the study considered the textbook as moderate. In addition, the data analysis revealed that the content and the visuals of the coursebook were the most highly rated sections, while gradation and recycling and supplementary material were among the categories that gained the least support.
Kirgoz (2009) assessed three coursebooks, developed by the ministry of national education, to use in fourth grade. Teachers and students who participated in this study responded to thirty-five-item questionnaire in their first language developed by the researcher and had an interview. Since the interview was in L1, the transcriptions were transcribed into English for the aim of data analysis. The results showed that the coursebooks were considered acceptable. Finally, the researcher made some suggestions to make the coursebooks more effective. The study also showed that experts with practical experience in curriculum material development and evaluation have deeper understanding of textbook evaluation as compared to those who have theoretical knowledge of the subject and/or only teach it.
In their study, Hamiloglu and Karhova (2009) assessed five English language textbooks used for teaching ESL adult learners. The findings of the study showed that all five textbooks integrated lexis into their syllabus by emphasizing on vocabulary knowledge using separate headings and additional sub headings.
Tok (2010) attempted to investigate the strengths and shortcomings of “Spot On”, a kind of coursebook employed at primary schools in Turkey. Forty-six English teachers who were selected randomly from primary schools in Malatya participated in the study. A five-Likert type scale checklist including layout and design, activities and tasks, language type, subject, content and skills and whole aspect was used for data collection. Results of the study indicated that the coursebook did not stand up reasonably well to a systematic in-depth analysis and that the negative features were far more than positive ones.
Mahmood (2011) examined the features of a coursebook and evaluated the coursebooks, prescribed by the Ministry of Education of Pakistan, based on these features. Fifty-one EFL teachers and material developers participated in the study. The instruments used for data collection was a coursebook evaluation form basedon eight features of quality coursebooks. Data analysis revealed that the coursebook does not have most of the needed features.
In Iranian EFL context, several researchers conducted several studies on coursebook evaluation. For instance, Ansari and Babaii (2002) assessed ten coursebooks and proposed a list of some characteristics of an appropriate coursebook as follows:
1) Dissemination of a vision (theory or approach) about the nature of language,
2) The nature of learning and how the theory can be put to applied use;
3) Stating purpose(s) and objective(s) for the total course and for individual units;
4) Selection and its rationale for coverage, grading, organization and sequencing;
5) Teacher’s satisfaction with the syllabus for providing a guide book, advice on the methodology and explaining theoretical orientations, and keys to the exercises and supplementary materials;
6) Learner satisfaction with the syllabus for giving piecemeal, unit-by-unit instruction and clear instructions for exercises. (p. 29)
Yarmohammadi (2002) tried to
evaluate the senior high school coursebooks using Tucker’s (1975) revised model. He concluded that such coursebooks have some shortcomings including lack of authenticity, using English and Persian names interchangeably and neglecting oral skills.
Jahangard (2007) assessed four EFL coursebooks which have been used in Iranian high schools. One of the strengths of these coursebooks which was found by the researcher is that the topics and tasks of lessons are interesting and draws learners’ attraction in EFL classes. However, new vocabularies are not contextualized, that makes understanding the words difficult for learners. Another weakness of these coursebooks is neglecting listening skill. In other words, no particular section is devoted for practicing listening skill. Finally, he offered that EFL coursebooks used in Iran high schools need to be examined more carefully by experts in the field.
SoodmandAfshar (2010) assessed Interchange Series (third edition) concentrating on vocabulary learning strategies. He came to the conclusion that even though the Interchange series have plenty of strong points, they suffer from lack of enough vocabulary knowledge, and also training learners on using main vocabulary learning strategies including dictionary use, keeping vocabulary notebooks and repetition strategies which have been found to be of vital significance in second/foreign language vocabulary acquisition.
Riazi and Aryasholouh (2007) evaluated high school and pre-university English coursebooks in terms of vocabulary exercise’s consciousness-raising aspect. The results revealed that just one percent of exercises could be categorized as consciousness-raising. In addition, it was found that individual words’ meanings are more significant for learners than their combination.
Razmjoo (2007) carried out a study in which he compared English coursebooks and EFL institute