Most people I have spoken to aren’t terribly keen on the current A Level textbooks. I think that the current Pearson Edexcel books are particularly poor, worse than the Edexcel books that I had when I was at A Level and definitely not as good as the Bostock and Chandler textbooks that I love.
I think the questions in the Edexcel books are quite samey, not necessarily challenging enough to stretch the most able and could also highlight links between topics better. The order that they tackle topics is also a bit weird, I can’t work out why the chapter on vectors is at the end of the M1 book for instance.
I was thinknig that the 100% prescribed A Level course (and 50% prescribed further maths) that is coming in provides a good opportunity to write an exam-board neutral text book / express what we want in a textbook.
Here is my list of things I would like to see in an A Level textbook:
- A book written in a logical order that highlights the links between topics.
- Rigorous derivations that highlight where methods come from.
- Sections that discuss the use of the mathematics in the real world.
- Plenty of exercises for pupils to practise (with worked solutions available for teachers).
- Scaffolded exercises to develop understanding and pupil’s confidence.
- Off syllabus sections to help prepare students for university level maths. For example, the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus is something that could be properly discussed at A Level and not just alluded to.
- Access to plenty of virtual manipulatives to demonstrate ideas. These should be accessible to any students that want to use them.
- Links to (free) mathematical software pacakages, especially for investigating data in the statistics sections.
- Explicit emphasis for multiple approaches to solving problems.
- Longer, more free-form questions to challenge students.
- Suggestions for self-study research projects (maybe ones that would be suitable for the EPQ).
I’m really interested to hear what other people would like to see in a text book.? What kind of things do they particularly like/dislike?
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