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Why Maths Textbooks Count (But Not Just Any Textbook)

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Why Maths Textbooks Count (But Not Just Any Textbook)

There is a growing revolution in the use of maths textbooks. An increasing number of schools now see the value of using high-quality maths textbooks and resources to support teacher subject knowledge and pupil learning

Interest in maths textbook fell out of fashion in the 1970s. The renewed interest is largely the result of a paper from Tim Oates — ‘Why Textbooks Count.’

The report is worth reading in full, but a key takeaway is the statistic that only 10 percent of teachers in England use maths textbooks as the basis for their teaching. If you look at Singapore, that number jumps from 10 percent to 70 percent — a huge gap.

This ‘very problematic’ ethos, Oates concludes, is a contributing factor in England’s poor maths performance in international league tables. Recently, he spoke to that fact at our leadership conference: ‘It’s not surprising that textbook use is so low; the quality hasn’t been great. But the low use has also been driven by an anti-textbook ethos.’

Watch the talk in full below.

Tim Oates' research into high-performing education systems and use of textbooks

Having examined the use of quality textbooks in high-performing nations around the world, Tim Oates asserts that the use of high-quality textbooks is key to ensuring schools in England teach to a standard that matches the education systems of the countries that top the international league tables.

Read Tim Oates’ paper in full.