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Open Your Book: Methods for Increasing Textbook Usage

Gunner Brown
Action Research
EDU 603/604 Fall 2014
Doane College
Dr. Schlichtemeier-Nutzman

Increasing Textbook Usage

Table of Contents
Abstract ......................................................................................................................................................... 2
I: Introduction to the Study ........................................................................................................................... 3
Context of the Study ............................................................................................................................... 3
Background of the Problem ................................................................................................................... 5
Problem Statement.................................................................................................................................. 6
Purpose Statement .................................................................................................................................. 6
Significance .............................................................................................................................................. 6
Research Questions ................................................................................................................................. 8
II: Literature Review ..................................................................................................................................... 9
III: Research Design and Methodology ...................................................................................................... 18
Purpose of Action Research ................................................................................................................. 18
Reliability ............................................................................................................................................... 19
Validity ................................................................................................................................................... 19
Action Research Steps .......................................................................................................................... 20
Ethical and Cultural Considerations................................................................................................... 21
Gathering Data and Information......................................................................................................... 21
Data Analysis ......................................................................................................................................... 23
IV: Findings and Discussion ....................................................................................................................... 25
V: Summary and Conclusions .................................................................................................................... 41
References .................................................................................................................................................. 43
Appendix A: Ethics Training Certificate .................................................................................................... 46
Appendix B: Pre-Instruction Textbook Questionnaire ............................................................................... 47
Appendix C: End of Instructional Cycle Questionnaire ............................................................................. 48
Appendix D: Post-Instruction Textbook Questionnaire .............................................................................. 49
Appendix E: Powerpoint Presentation ........................................................................................................ 50

Increasing Textbook Usage

Abstract
Textbooks have been provided to classrooms in a variety of content areas for many years
in the current educational climate. It has also been reported and observed that textbooks are
underused for a majority of students. This study used a mixed-methods approach to examine
three potential methods for increasing student textbook usage in a high school mathematics
setting. Students were divided into control and experimental groups, and data were collected
both qualitatively and quantitatively to determine which methods were successful in increasing
student textbook usage. Of the three methods proposed, two demonstrated a positive correlation
with increasing the amount of time students use their textbook outside of the classroom. These
results are used to propose further examination of the methods chosen and expansion to other
content areas.

Increasing Textbook Usage

I: Introduction to the Study


Context of the Study
Being able to maintain small-town roots while incorporating the achievements of a large
city has become a primary goal of Elkhorn Public Schools. Situated on the western edge of
Omaha, the suburban district has ties back to the 1860s, when the town of Elkhorn was founded.
Recently, district population has started to grow rapidly. The current average rise is about six
percent, going from 3274 students in 2003-2004, to a current level of 6588. With the higher
enrollment, Elkhorn Public Schools has grown to be the seventh largest district in the state of
Nebraska. However, the district continues to make relatively small classes a priority and
maintains a ratio of 22.27 students for every teacher. All information about the district and its
schools can be found on its website, elkhornweb.org, or from the Nebraska Department of
Education report website at reportcard.education.ne.gov.
As the district began to grow, the district opened up a second high school. Elkhorn South
High was opened in 2010, and incorporated a full freshman through senior population the
following year. The population for 2012-2013 was 933 students. Elkhorn South is a high
achieving school, with 85 % of students reaching a proficient level in all NESA tests in 2012,
and a 99% graduation rate. The school has a proclaimed goal of increasing school wide reading
comprehension in order to benefit students in all subject areas.
Much like its district, the school also maintains a very low poverty rate, with 3.5% of
students qualifying for free and reduced lunch, compared to 44% as the statewide average. The
school does lack in racial diversity, with current population percentages as:
White: 93%

Hispanic: 2.4%

Black: 1.2%

Asian: 2.4%

Increasing Textbook Usage

While student population may not be socioeconomically diverse, the curriculum


standards provide for a wide range of student opportunities. These include High Ability learning
programs, multiple foreign language options, Advanced Placement course offerings in all subject
areas, and an inclusive education system.
Elkhorn South also boasts an impressive group of educators to facilitate their high district
standards. During the 2012-2013 school year, there were 55 full time teachers at the school. Of
that group, 44 held at least a masters degree in their field. Teachers also averaged about 14 years
of experience at Elkhorn South during that time.
The classroom is oriented such that focus should be maintained on the educator during
classroom instruction, but opportunities also arise for group exercises. There are fourteen tables
spread throughout the room, such that there are gaps between each one for walking paths. At
each table are two student chairs, meaning that each student essentially has a table partner.
Chairs are facing the smartboard and marker boards at the front of the room, at which is also the
teacher desk. There are no windows, so there are many posters on the wall. Some of them are
humorous and math related, others are designed to inspire and motivate students. The back of the
room consists of some storage cabinets and counter space for possible activities.
Like most educators, I believe that good teaching requires a student-centered perspective.
I strive to maintain close relationships with students, allowing ample opportunity for questions
and comments about all things school related. We delve into different areas, such as future math
courses or college preparation. I think these conversations allow students to feel a connection
between the work we do in class and their own personal future.
By maintaining close relationships, it allows for my general lecture style to become a
time for questions, examples, and applications. Students are not expected to master initial

Increasing Textbook Usage

homework, but are encouraged to attempt every problem to find faults in their knowledge.
Homework is taken mostly as completion, and help is always given to students who approach for
it.
Tests and quizzes are well prepared for with class time, and students are expected to be
relatively adept at the material at that time. I believe in creating self-awareness in all students so
that they can know when they require help in preparing for a summative assessment. Rote
memorization is never a goal of the class, but we try to strive more toward application and
critical thinking. I believe that success is determined by positive work ethic from all parties and
an ability to have a knowledge of how individual students learn.
Background of the Problem
Textbook usage is widely discussed in the education field. As long as textbooks have
been available, some educators have used them for the vast majority of their education, and
others have barely acknowledged their existence. The internet has only exacerbated this problem,
as information is now more readily available than ever before. As students become more adept at
using the internet to answer questions, the ability to look for answers in written text falls away.
It then follows that students are becoming less likely to use their textbooks other than for
assigned work.
Even as online textbooks become more popular, it seems that the way students view the
material is not changing. Putting the book online does little to erase the students perception of
what the textbook can be used for. The blame is not solely on the students, however. Educators
also fail to use the textbook to its full potential. Although included resources come with
textbooks, teachers still struggle to incorporate those into the daily lessons.

Increasing Textbook Usage

Problem Statement
Mathematic textbooks, through personal observation, appear to be an underutilized tool
for learning. Often, I believe textbooks are viewed as the problem list, and not as a resource that
can help guide students when the educator is no longer in the room. While students may know
the section or chapter in the book, they fail to realize the opportunities the book provides. Some
opportunities include example problems, applications, connections to other subjects, and even a
list of alternative resources for more information.
Purpose Statement
The purpose of this study was to examine possible methods to create more efficient or
effective textbook use in mathematics classrooms.
Innovation
Students were given different methods of textbook usage. As an educator, I tied the
textbook to material so that students may see the books relevance to their learning. Current
practices allowed for few reading comprehension strategies in the math classroom. As a class,
we discussed the different sections of the book and different reading strategies to help students
succeed.
The success of the changes and methods attempted relied on student involvement.
Without their cooperation and ability, nothing would have been gained from the research. To
ensure involvement, the educator frequently discussed the reasons for a particular method and
how it can help students succeed.
Significance
The results of the research changed how I view the textbook in the math classroom, and
more importantly how students use the textbook inside and outside of the classroom. With
proper strategies, the textbook has the opportunity to become a more valuable tool to the

Increasing Textbook Usage

classroom, giving students and educators a more useful resource than it had been previously.
Incorporating these methods for future classes has become common practice for the educator,
and the educator continues to encourage even more conversation about the methods used. The
evaluation of strategies will continue through following school years, refining and accepting
methods to further advance textbook usage in the mathematics classroom.
Through discussion and presentation of results, colleagues may adapt the best methods
discovered in order to increase students reading comprehension. Ideally, students gained an
ability to investigate answers from a mathematical document and feel confident enough to use
that ability throughout their education.
Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitations
There were a couple assumptions that must be made in order to make the research valid
and possible. First, it was assumed that the textbooks being used were at the appropriate
knowledge level of the students. Students had progressed naturally to the course level they are in,
and used a textbook designed for that particular level.
Second, it was assumed that students answered questionnaire items about the methods
honestly. The researcher did not know how any individual student responded, thus there should
be no reason students would respond falsely to any particular question.
The research was limited by the population. Rather than being able to choose from a truly
random group, students are assigned to a particular class. Therefore there was an unequal number
of each gender participating in the research. It is also true that students did not make up a
complete spectrum of social diversity, especially given the demographics of the school.
To help make the information gathered more valid and comparable, the project was
delimited to have control and experimental groups. Given that the researcher had two Algebra 1
classes and two Geometry classes, one of each had the different methods attempted. The other

Increasing Textbook Usage

class in each subject received no changes in methodology to provide a baseline. Classes were
randomly chosen as control or experimental.
Research Questions
Statement or Observation: Students and educators do not use the mathematics textbooks to their
highest potential.
Primary Question: What strategies are effective in helping students increase textbook usage?
Guiding Question One: How does using different reading comprehension strategies affect
student textbook usage?
Guiding Question Two: How does the implementation of online textbooks affect student
textbook usage?
Guiding Question Three: How does addressing possible textbook shortcomings affect student
textbook usage?

Increasing Textbook Usage

II: Literature Review


Introduction
This study was designed to see what methods can be used to increase student textbook
usage. Several issues arise straight from the base. First, it is a necessity to determine if students
need to use their textbooks more. Few studies have looked at how much textbook reading is
done by students in high school, but several have been done in college level courses.
Clump, Bauer, and Bradley (2004) concluded that 27.46% of students read required
material before the class in which it was due. Even when an exam was upcoming, that number
increased to only 69.98%. In a later study, it was concluded that reading levels were either the
same as, or lower than, the data reported by Clump, Bauer, and Bradley (Gurung & Martin,
2011).
Other studies have concluded that even if the textbook is read, the amount of time spent
doing so is relatively low. One study found that slightly less than eight percent of students read
for more than three hours. Another 31.44% of students read between one and three hours, with
42.80% reading for less than an hour (Berry, Cook, Hill, & Stevens, 2011). It is interesting to
note that only 17.80% reported not reading at all, much lower than other studies.
While it appears that numbers vary, it is relatively clear that even if students report
reading texts, they are doing so for a short amount of time. The next issue that arises is if there is
a common theme as to what factors influence whether or not students read the textbook.
Berry, Cook, Hill, and Stevens found that the vast majority of students find that they are
often too busy to read. So if it were possible to provide easier access for students to read
material, such as an electronic textbook, it may influence the amount or how often they read. The
idea of electronic textbooks is a central theme to this project, and is examined further later.

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It was also concluded by Berry, Cook, Hill, and Stevens (2011) that the best way a
teacher can motivate a student to read the textbook was to provide more specific direction and
help with the reading. Using more precise reading comprehension strategies, it may be possible
to help students with this problem. Again, this is investigated as a more central theme to this
study.
In a separate study, Landrun, Gurung, and Spann (2012) found that the textbook itself can
also influence student learning. The writing, figures, tables, research examples, and
pedagogical aids tend to be textbook characteristics most positively associated with student
reading (Landrun, Gurung, & Spann, p.23).
It follows to ask then that if it is possible to know what parts of textbooks are important
to helping students read them, do all textbooks use these key characteristics? If not, is there a
way to overcome that obstacle in class? This concept is the final key theme investigated in the
following research.
How does using different reading comprehension strategies affect student textbook usage?
Before discussing reading comprehension strategies, it is necessary to explain why they
are important to reading math. Mathematics is a language that people use to communicate, to
solve problemsit is a language of words, numerals, and symbols that are at times interrelated
and independent and at other times disjointed and autonomous(Adams, 2003, p.786).
While language itself is well discussed, the idea of interdisciplinary languages is a more
complex idea. Adams discusses that in mathematics, there are incomplete definitions of common
math terms. She brings the example of the square, where students learn that a square has all sides
being equal. While this definition is true, it invites many other polygons with equal sides and
neglects the true nature of a square.

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Another problem with mathematical language approached by Adams is the common


words with multiple meanings. One example she uses is volume, meaning both amount of area a
shape occupies, and at the same time meaning the audio level of an object.
Further research has helped to tie the importance of language in mathematical learning to
the way students learn. Observing teacher-student conversations, Mercer and Sams (2006)
concluded that by improving the quality of students use of language for reasoning, students
could then become better individual learners and improve their understanding of math itself.
Mercer and Sams also note the simple importance of the style of teacher interaction with
students. More precisely, we have shown how the quality of dialogue between teachers and
learners, and amongst learners, is of crucial importance if it is to have a significant influence on
learning and educational attainment (p.525).
The above has begun to establish both the complexity, and importance of mathematical
language and the way teachers interact with their students. With few dissenting opinions on
either of these ideas, the question then posed for the purpose of the study is what reading
comprehension strategies can help students achieve a grasp on the complexity of the language?
Massey and Riley (2013) did a case study examining a math educators view on reading
strategies. They found that the individual math teacher shifted paradigms, going from belief that
math and reading were not related, to finding a strong connection between the two. The research
also found four distinct reading comprehension strategies that the teacher used without realizing
it. The four strategies identified were visualization, connecting to the known, choose your own
adventure, and what is this in math?
Visualization and connecting to the known are both common terms in regard to reading
strategies. Choose your own adventure is defined as making inferences and personal connections

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to the information. Finally, what is this in math refers to using structure and key words to
determine mathematical meaning.
Other research also supports the claim that making connections to material is a vital
reading strategy. A key tenet of this paradigm is that teachers should value the unofficial
literacies that students bring to school and use students everyday funds of knowledge and
cultural practices as both a bridge to and a resource for promoting content area reading
development (Fang, Sun, Chiu, & Trutschel, 2014, p.56).
Even in more dated research, such as Brennan and Dunlap (1985), the very first step of
their mathematical reading practice was creating interest through establishing connections to
prior knowledge. They continue their plan with activities designed to build a necessary
vocabulary, asking guiding questions for the reading, and ending with practice in the traditional
problem sense.
While the authors presented in the introduction of this literature review found that
teachers could motivate students to read by focusing strictly on the important parts of the
reading, research on methods rarely included that as part of their findings. One of the few
examples, Adams and Pegg (2012), mentioned that by holding discussions of text to key
concepts and allowing students time to create deeper meaning, the information becomes more
internalized.
The fact that both old and new studies have recognized the importance of establishing
connections in regard to content-area reading creates a strong case for its inclusion in any
teaching of reading strategies. Much in the same way, a strong vocabulary knowledge was a key
component of almost all research done. Finally, focusing on main ideas was both a student

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desire and a valuable reading strategy for educators to use. These three reading strategies, chosen
for their importance and researched success, were the ones applied for the purpose of this study.
How does the implementation of online textbooks affect student textbook usage?
An alternative way to approach this guiding question is given by Bromley (2010):
Acceptance of the growing place of digital literacy in society today leads to the following
question: What do we do now to accommodate struggling learners and those who have grown up
in a digital age who often use technology more adeptly than the tools of traditional literacy?
(pg.104).
The problem posed by this question is that research has been inconclusive about what
implementing online text does to the amount students read. One college study, done by Robinson
(2011), concluded that approximately one-third of students would rather buy a paper textbook
rather than use an online version for free. Similarly, Vernon (2006) found that given that paper is
much more pertinent than reading academic texts electronically, and as such students tend to opt
for a more familiar reading tool.
As an alternative study, Miller, Nutting, and Baker-Eveleth (2013) said that is much more
important what type of environment a student comes from to determine online textbook usage.
For example, such things such as attending a large high school, owning a desktop computer, or
being exposed to online reading at an early age all can contribute to preferring online texts.
While there is not a general consensus as to the impact of online texts, there is a common
theme that it is dependent on student use. Much like the previous study, Robinson and Stubberud
found that student preference is the important factor in online text usage: The results of this
study show that different groups of students like different types of learning materials, from low
tech paper to high tech podcasts, videos, and e-booksIt should also be acknowledged that

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groups of students may prefer different types of learning materials, and it is the duty of the
instructor to determine how to best serve his or her particular students (pg. 107).
Another possible benefit that online texts may contain is their ability to assist people who
are visually impaired. Bouck and Meyer (2012) found that online supplements drastically
improved the learning than if visually impaired students were given just a paper text option. This
is yet another example how online and paper text will become an individual decision.
With research concluding that online textbooks and paper textbooks are essentially a
student choice, it leaves the door open to seeing what giving students that choice does to
textbook usage.

How does addressing possible textbook shortcomings affect student textbook usage?
In order to categorize and score textbooks, researchers have created rubrics to help
identify the quality of mathematical content. Doable, Fien, Nelson-Walker, and Baker (2012)
compiled several different studies in order to create a comprehensive scoring rubric for math
textbooks. The following table lists the rubric used and the key components that were identified
in quality textbooks (S. Baker et al., 2002; Gersten, Chard, et al., 2009; NMAP, 2008; in Doable,
Fien, Nelson-Walker, & Baker 2012):

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Using these principles, the authors discovered: Our findings suggest that a considerable
amount of students are receiving markedly different experiences in math instruction as they
progress through the grade levels, with possibly less coherent instruction in the later grades.
Inconsistent instruction across grade levels will likely pose difficulties for most learners,
especially those at risk for math failure (Doabler, Fien, Nelson-Walker, & Baker, 2012, p. 208).
Another problem identified with current textbooks is the fact that they are geared toward
the central section of the population. Guthrie and Lutz Klauda (2012) estimate that textbooks are
focused toward the 20% of students in the middle of the learning spectrum. This conclusion

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estimates that the lowest 40% of learners and the highest 40% of learners are not receiving the
type of textbook that would be suitable for them.
Macintyre and Hamilton (2010) also noted: We feel that those with additional support
needs might have difficulty coping with the textual presentation, especially at General level,
given the layout in columns or closely packed images and words (pg 17).
So if it is recognized that textbooks are not designed for struggling learners, the focus of
this study, it must be determined what solutions exist. Older research, from Ciborowski (1995),
identifies the biggest thing teachers can do to increase student reading in mediocre textbooks is
to tie the textbook into the student strengths. It is acknowledged that some time must pass before
the teacher can adequately identify students reading strengths, and discussion with other
teachers may be needed, as well.
In another study, the authors state that by changing the role of the textbook and the way it
is used, students can work around the difficult writing and create their own connections. By
transforming the textbook from a source of knowledge to a focus of discussion, instructors can
use reading questions to encourage students to wrestle actively with the mathematical ideas
presented in the textbook and to construct new meaning from their own ideas (Weinberg &
Wiesner, 2011, pg. 61).
While some studies have acknowledged that overuse of supplementary materials can
actually hurt learning (Charoenying, 2010; NMAP, 2008; in van Garderen, Scheuermann, &
Jackson, 2012), studies have shown that if the textbook is not designed to match students with
disabilities then some supplements are required. The majority of these supplements should help
students who lack skills to create their own representations.

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In conclusion, the authors maintain that even textbooks with deficiencies can be used to
help all students as long as support is used, such as creating discussions and representational
supplements. Often this requires knowing students, and being able to identify their strengths and
weaknesses. These topics are the focus for instructional purposes during the study period.
Writers Connection
I was very interested to discover that there was little research done on textbook usage in
the high school setting. There are many college studies done, but not necessarily knowing how
my study was going to conclude made me more excited to do the study. My research questions
seemed to fit nicely with the research available, while still leaving the opportunity add to the
current body of knowledge.
After completing the literature review, I felt like I was up-to-date with current thoughts
on textbook usage, and have examined what other people have done. While my study involved
pieces and ideas that were involved in previous research, the small-scale testing of the topics
presented definitely helped encourage local discussion of reading strategies, online textbooks,
and textbook shortcomings and their impact on the way students read mathematical texts.

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III: Research Design and Methodology


Purpose of Action Research
The purpose of this research is to examine best practices for increasing student textbook
usage by comparing several teaching concepts.
Worldview/Research Tradition
This study assumes a pragmatic worldview in order to assess the possible solutions.
Focus was not necessarily on the causes of low textbook usage, but rather on strategies to help
increase it. Information was gathered using a mixed methods design.
Specific Research Design/Methodology
Both qualitative and quantitative data were accumulated using a variety of methods.
Quantitative data were gathered using questionnaires designed to assess student textbook usage
and through assessment of student homework scores. Qualitative information consisted of open
ended questions from questionnaires, educator observations, classroom discussions, and small
group interviews. Both qualitative and quantitative data were gathered concurrently throughout
the study.
Sampling
Students are randomly assigned to a mathematical subject for their level of knowledge.
The educator had two sections of Algebra 1 and two sections of Geometry. One section of each
subject was randomly selected to serve as the experimental group. Complete enumeration was
used on those sections, using all students. The other section of each subject was used as a
control, answering the same questions but not receiving the new techniques intended to improve
textbook usage.

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Reliability
Reliability was ensured by going through a proper approval process and the research
proposal was examined before implementation. Many of the questionnaire questions were used
as repeated measures, to help demonstrate changes throughout time. Questionnaires were created
so that wording is clear and concise. All possibly unknown words contained rewordings and
operational definitions so that participants were allowed to complete the questionnaires honestly
and accurately. Member checking was employed throughout all interviews and discussions.
Validity
Validity was ensured by following Andersons, et al. (1994) criteria as outlined in Mills
(2011):
Democratic Validity: All participating students had their perspectives represented in the
collected data and information through working with the teacher collaboratively.
Outcome Validity: Conclusions taken caused the educator to implement successful
solutions to textbook usage problems in additional classroom environments.
Process Validity: Ensured by completing a planned course of action while maintaining
proper professionalism. The process is continually reflected upon and adjusted so that students
are allowed to complete study to the best of their abilities.
Catalytic Validity: Students left the study with a better understanding of how to use their
textbooks in the future confidence to consistently succeed by reading math texts.
Dialogic Validity: Findings were discussed at the local, school level, and with colleagues
conducting similar research studies.

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Action Research Steps


Date
Beginning of Semester
9/15
Weeks 1-2
9/20-10/3

End of Week 2
10/3
Weeks 3-4
10/5-10/17

End of Week 4
10/17
Weeks 5-6

Action
Conduct opening student questionnaire. This
created a baseline to determine current levels of
textbook usage and thoughts about textbooks
maintained by the students.
Implemented the teaching of reading strategies
during class time. Daily work included researched
methods of including reading strategies.
Observed students throughout the process to
determine possible changes to the student
textbook usage.
Conducted a second questionnaire to see how
textbook usage levels and textbook beliefs
changed since the beginning of the questionnaire.
Began teaching and implementing more with the
online textbook for the class. Included using more
resources and demonstrated how to use the online
book.
Observed students throughout the process to
determine possible changes to the student
textbook usage.
Conducted a third questionnaire to see how online
textbook usage levels and textbook beliefs differ
from earlier questionnaires.
Implemented teaching methods to counter
possible textbook shortcomings.

10/19-10/31

End of Week 6
10/31
End of Research Study

Observed students throughout the process to


determine possible changes to the student
textbook usage.
Conducted a fourth questionnaire to see how
online textbook usage levels and textbook beliefs
differ from earlier questionnaires.
Involved class discussion and possible
questionnaire. Included questions to determine
which, if any, methods helped to enhance student
views on textbook and reading ability.

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Ethical and Cultural Considerations


As with most subject research, the issue of confidentiality was present. All questionnaires
requested that students do not identify themselves in any way, such as names, drawings, or
identifying writing tool characteristics. To avoid potential recognition of handwriting style, any
open-ended questions that require written responses were compiled and transcribed by a third
party educator. Any class discussions and quotations were maintained without names, and
students were only identified as either male or female.
For another ethical consideration, any student who wished to exempt themselves from the
study or the data gathering had the opportunity to do so at any time. Participation was not
required, and did not require outside-class time. The majority of participation involved reflective
thinking on personal textbook usage.
There were no specific cultural considerations for this study. The research was designed
to be multicultural, and in no way were students identified by cultural means. This was
including, but not limited to, social status, economic status, or race/ethnicity. The questionnaires
were well crafted to avoid potential bias.
To demonstrate proper research credentials, please see Appendix A for proof of ethics
training course completion.
Gathering Data and Information
Textbook usage data and information were obtained from a variety of sources. See matrix
and further explanation below to see how triangulation was ensured.
Primary Question: What strategies are effective in helping students increase textbook usage?

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Data Source 1

Data Source 2

Data Source 3

Guiding Question 1

Teacher

Student

Class

Reading Strategies

Observations

Questionnaires

Discussions

Guiding Question 2

Teacher

Student

Class

Observations

Questionnaires

Discussions

Guiding Question 3

Teacher

Student

Class

Textbook Problems

Observations

Questionnaires

Discussions

Online Texts

Before instruction and implementation of the strategies that were used, a prequestionnaire was administered to assess baseline levels. The pre-questionnaire was also
administered to the groups that did not receive the separate strategies to see how they compare to
the experimental groups as well. The questionnaire given is located in Appendix B.
Guiding Question One: How does using different reading comprehension strategies affect
student textbook usage?
After establishing the base period, the educator began including reading comprehension
strategies into the learning of material. Throughout this time, the teacher observed students to
see if textbook usage levels changed. Teacher also monitored how students responded to the new
instructional tools that were included.
At the end of this instructional time, students were given another questionnaire to assess
possible changes to their thinking. Again, teacher observations were included as a resources as
part of this data collection. View Appendix C to see the questionnaire that was used at the end of
each cycle.

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Guiding Question Two: How does the implementation of online textbooks affect student
textbook usage?
This section repeated the cycle used during guiding question one, detailed above.
Guiding Question Three: How does addressing possible textbook shortcomings affect
student textbook usage?
This section repeated the cycle used during guiding question one, detailed above.
After completion of the final instructional cycle, students were given one final
questionnaire, similar to the beginning questionnaire. This questionnaire was primarily used to
assess overall changes, and to help identify what sections the students found to have the most
impact on their learning. This questionnaire is located as Appendix D.
During this time, the teacher also facilitated a brief class discussion about what strategies
had been used for the study. The teacher was observant for a consensus classroom theme, and for
individual student quotations that represent the feelings of the students.
Initially, it was planned to have a parent questionnaire as a final piece of data. This was
removed from the study due to potential conflicts with the local rules regarding parental
involvement.
Data Analysis
This study focused on three factors of impacting textbook usage: use of reading
comprehension strategies, use of online textbook, and working through textbook shortcomings.
Teacher observations, classroom discussion, and extensive qualitative and quantitative data were
accumulated to help extend analysis.
Quantitative data were calculated into measures of central tendency so that could be
compared with both control groups and data collected earlier. In particular, numerical means

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were used for assessment. Student responses were viewed as whole group data, rather than
individual data. All responses that are similar are depicted on a pie graph to show changes over
time, and as a bar graph to show full amount of changes.
Qualitative responses were coded to try and find common themes, and perhaps an overall
student consensus. These responses were combined into categories, so that like responses are
together. More specifically, qualitative responses were matched to possible literature review
categories and given positive, negative, or neutral tags.
Teacher observations and classroom discussions were also coded for themes to match the
qualitative responses. Key questions, specifically why and how, were asked to discover if there
was a particular cause to the potential changes in textbook usage. Direct quotations are used as
an example to demonstrate how these conclusions were made.

Increasing Textbook Usage

25

IV: Findings and Discussion


The goal of this mixed-methods study was to identify potential methods for increasing
student textbook usage throughout the math classroom. After analyzing various literature
sources, the methods chosen to analyze were: increasing amount of in-class reading strategies,
taking advantage of the online textbook, and using supplements to overcome some textbook
shortcomings. Of the four classes involved, two were treated as control groups while the other
two were used as experimental groups for the comparison of data. Students were given a prestudy questionnaire, and then were assessed after each cycle of methods. This data comprised
the majority of quantitative information used. There was also general observation and openended question responses through classroom discussion that came together to be used as
qualitative data. Together, these two combined to give an overall view of what methods might
have an impact, positively or negatively, on student textbook usage.
Shown below is a Steps to Action chart that summarizes findings and recommended
future actions. Following the chart is a more detailed description of each method examined for
the study, given in chronological order of data collection.

Increasing Textbook Usage

Summary of findings
by research question

Recommended action
targeted to findings

1.0 How does the


use of various
reading strategies in
class affect student
textbook usage?
1.1 Reading
strategies had a
negative impact on
student textbook
usage
1.2 Students
recorded using their
textbook less often
for help

It would be beneficial at
this point to consider
whether or not the use of
reading strategies
impacted comprehension.
Most teachers can live
with their students not
using textbooks as long
as they are proficient in
comprehension of
material. It may turn out
that reading strategies
lowering textbook usage
is a good thing
academically, but for
now that result is an
unknown question of the
research.
The use of the online
textbook did increase the
amount of time the
students used their
textbooks. However the
results were not definite,
so more observation is
required. It would also
help if students were
exposed to the online
book in other classes.
Finally, the use of this
method should be
examined in regards to
material comprehension.
Given that overcoming
textbook shortcomings
created the greatest
positive impact on
student textbook usage, it
would be wise to
continue to use and
observe this method.
Much like the others, it
would also be beneficial
to examine how it
impacts learning as well.

2.0 What is the


impact of the use of
online textbooks on
overall textbook
usage?
2.1 Online
textbooks had a
general positive
relationship with
textbook usage
2.2 Students
recorded using their
textbook more often
for help
3.0 Does textbook
usage increase if
measures are taken
to overcome
textbook
shortcomings?
3.1 Textbook usage
increased noticeably
throughout the
method
3.2 Students also
recorded using their
textbook for help
more often

26
Who is
responsible
for the
action?

Teacher
Future
Data
Collectors

Teacher
Future
Data
Collectors
Other
Educators

Teacher
Future
Data
Collectors
Other
Educators

Who needs to
be consulted or
informed?

Who will
monitor/
collect
data?

Classroom
teacher
Principal
Other staff
with
potential
for
classroom
use

N/A,

Classroom
teacher
Principal
Other staff
with
potential
for
classroom
use

Teacher

Classroom
teacher
Principal
Other staff
with
potential
for
classroom
use

Teacher

Timeline

Resources

N/A

Various
mentor
texts

2nd
Semester
JanuaryMay

Various
mentor
texts

Future
Data
Collector

Other
Educators

2nd
Semester
JanuaryMay

Various
mentor
texts
Other
Educators

Increasing Textbook Usage

27

Pretest: Students completed a pretest designed to assess their overall feelings of their
textbook before beginning to try and increase textbook usage. Students were given a quantitative
portion, being asked to scale themselves on how much they use their textbook. This did not
include the use of the book for daily assignments, as those were considered required and not
supplementary. The following chart shows the comparison between the experimental and
control groups for this part of the pretest.

Given that the pretest meant that no alternative learning had taken place, it is proper that
the two groups reported a relatively similar set of results. Both groups contained an
overwhelming majority of students, around 80 percent, who said that they rarely used their
textbook outside of the assigned problems. If a student reported using their textbook sometimes,
it was a much smaller section of the population. Finally, the subset of students who said they use
their textbook often made up the smallest portion of the total students. For the control group, the
number of often respondents was similar to that of the sometimes group. For the experimental,
the often group was much smaller than the sometimes group.
As a separate part of the pretest, students were asked a similar question to the first one.
The second question prompted students to again identify the amount of times they use their
textbook to help them with an idea or concept that they do not understand. This question was

Increasing Textbook Usage

28

asked to determine if students were using their textbooks for help, rather than for other reasons,
such as pre-reading chapters or using them for study guides. The results of this question for both
groups is depicted in the following charts.

For this question, there is a difference in response between control and experimental.
The control group was fairly evenly divided among all three groupings. The majority of students
responded as using their textbook for help sometimes, where for the first question students rarely
used their book. Also, the amount of students from the control group who reported often using
their textbook for help rose to around 25 percent of the group.
The experimental group remained relatively similar to the results from the original
question. Specifically, the amount of students who responded to using their textbook for help in
the highest category increased very slightly between the two questions of the pretest. The
sometimes group also increased slightly, while the lowest group decreased from the first
question.
Overall, the pretest provided a few key takeaways to help guide the analyzing of further
data. First, very few students respond that they use their textbook an often amount. Using the
textbook rarely is much more common. This is important because it allows the data to show if

Increasing Textbook Usage

29

textbook usage has increased. Showing differences in data would be much more difficult if the
textbook usage rate was already high.
Second, students use their textbook more for help than for other reasons. This data is
used to potentially see what areas of textbook usage increased, along with overall textbook
usage. If the data showed a change in overall textbook usage but not in textbook for help usage,
then that would be significant. It could be equally significant if both changed in the same
direction.

How does using reading comprehension strategies affect student textbook usage?
After the pretest, two weeks of instruction were used to assess if reading comprehension
strategies affect textbook usage. Once the instruction was completed, the students in both the
control and experimental group were tested again using similar questions to the ones asked
during the pretest. The purpose of this was to see what had changed based on recent learnings.
The charts for the change of overall textbook usage beyond assigned problems after the previous
two weeks, are below.

As expected from when comparing to the pretest, the control group saw little change in
most categories. The majority of students still said they rarely use their textbook. There was a

Increasing Textbook Usage

30

slight increase in students who use their textbook sometimes. This difference is probably due to
the material being different between the pretest and the two week learning period.
When comparing the control to the experimental, there are definite changes to the
regularity of which students their textbook. After the two week period of increased reading
strategies, zero students reported an increase in amount reading done in their textbook. There
was approximately 10 percent of students who did so in the control. Also, more than half of the
students reported a decreasing amount of textbook usage in the experimental group. The rest of
the students said that their levels did not change.
In summary, the percentage of students who reported no change in their reading amount
was about the same for both the control and the experimental. However, students reported using
their textbook less in the experimental than the control, something that did not happen as
prevalently in the pretest.
There was also a question on how often students use their textbook for help in this part
of the questionnaire. The graphs for that data are shown in the following.

The control chart appears very similar to the other one from this observation period, with
there being a small number of students who reported high textbook usage, while the majority still
reported low textbook usage.

Increasing Textbook Usage

31

In comparison, the experimental graph shows a staggering decline when judged next to
both the pretest and the control of the reading strategies. Around 80 percent of students reported
rarely using their textbook for help. The other 20 percent of the population was split fairly
evenly between people who occasionally used their book and people who declared to use their
book often.
Based on the data collected, textbook usage actually decreased fairly significantly by
increasing the amount of reading strategies used in class. Comparing how often the students
reported using their textbook for help in the pretest to the reading strategies, it is especially
telling how much it dropped. Just in those two weeks, 30% of students dropped from occasional
usage for help to rare usage.
Initially this result may seem confusing and contradictory. It would seem that by allowing
students the opportunity to feel like more accomplished readers, they will feel more comfortable
using their book on their own time. The data concluded the exact opposite of this gut-instict.
The caution here is to understand that this is not necessarily a bad development for the
average student. By using graphic organizers, analyzing word fragments, and other reading
strategies, it is possible that students actually knew material better than they did previously, so
their textbook was no longer needed. While that seems like a plausible conclusion that the
students may not have needed textbook, it could also be argued that students were tired of
reading and thus were not ready to read on their own.
Without knowing any causation, the true correlation between the use of reading strategies
and textbook usage rates is a negative one. By introducing students to positive reading models
and enhancing their own vocabulary, the educator found students less reliable or likely to use
their textbook.

Increasing Textbook Usage

32

As for further research, it is proposed here that the next step be to analyze how reading
strategies affect comprehension and knowledge of material. It needs to be determined if
textbooks are no longer needed, or if there are true negative sides to decreasing textbook usage in
this manner. It is also relevant to know how many explicit reading comprehension strategies can
be used before the textbook usage rate declines. There were quite a few used as a part of the
study, so it would be beneficial to know if there was a smaller number that allowed for better
textbook usage.
How does the implementation of online textbooks affect student textbook usage?
Following the administration of the first method, experimental students were exposed to
another two week cycle, with the focus being on use of the online textbook. This included
demonstrating relevant resources and ensuring students knew how to discover and use the
textbook away from the classroom. After the instruction, students were asked the same two
questions as in the previous two questionnaires. The results of the first question, how often do
students use their textbook, is below.

As has been seen with the previous graphs, the control group remained mostly students
who responded that they rarely used their textbook and the second largest group responding that

Increasing Textbook Usage

33

they sometimes use their book. There still remained a small portion of students who often used
their textbook.
When observing the experimental group, some interesting changes have taken place. For
the first time, the amount of students who rarely use their book was not overwhelmingly larger
than the other two sections. In fact, all three amounts were reported evenly among the
responding students. The biggest takeaway from this is the increased number of students who
responded as often reading their textbook. Normally this group of respondents was the lowest
group by a significant margin, but implementing online textbooks made it even with the other
two groups.
As with the previous two sections of data, the amount of time students reported using
their textbook for assistance was also asked in the questionnaire. The results of that data are
represented in the following charts.

The control group maintained almost the exact same relationship between the two
questions for this method. But the online textbook clearly impacted the experimental group for
this question as well. About one-third of the students still responded to rarely using their
textbook. But for this particular question, about half of the students responded that they

Increasing Textbook Usage

34

sometimes use their book, more than both the matching pretest and control data from this
method.
The evidence from both charts suggests a positive correlation between using the online
textbook in class and the overall textbook usage. By using the online textbook as a guide for
individual use, students began to find more time to spend with their book for the purpose of
mathematics.
While the correlation was definitively positive, it was not a drastic increase in amount of
use. More students admitted to reading the book, but there was still one-third of students who
said that they rarely used the book, even once the online book was introduced. This could
potentially be a reflection on at-home resources for individual students. It is possible that the
reason one-third of the students still rarely used their book was simply because they did not have
the opportunity to use the online version.
It is interesting to note that while the pretest noted that students responded that they use
their textbook more for help, the opposite was true in this situation. As mentioned earlier, this
may not be a negative outcome. Students felt that they were using their textbook more often.
Perhaps by doing so they better understood material and thus did not need their textbook for as
much help. The data still suggested that the students used it more for help in the experimental
than the control, so it stands to reason that the online text helped at least a few students when
they required it.
The results of the introduction of the online textbook hold great opportunities for the
future, especially as the online textbook industry grows and refines. With the amount of online
resources and ease of access, there is really little excuse for a teacher to not have that as part of

Increasing Textbook Usage

35

their repertoire of teaching tools. What this research concludes is that it deserves a larger portion
of time in the day-to-day classroom experience of students.
Following the research, it seems only prudent to continue to implement the online
textbook for the immediate future in the classroom. In fact, an extended usage of the online
textbook, combined with the additional resources that come along with that, may further the
increase of textbook usage overall. It is the belief of the researcher that by implementing the
online textbook over a series of school years, students would become more comfortable with the
concept and could even begin to feel self-guided with the online textbook.
Along with continuing the use in the educators personal classes, it could be highly
beneficial to investigate if the online textbook can provide similar or increased benefits to other
content areas. Since online textbooks in different subjects will have a variety of quality, it could
become beneficial both to schools and textbook companies what is useful and encourages student
textbook use. This cycle of continuous improvement could prove highly beneficial to all
students, not just those locally affected by the educators research.
Similar to what was proposed for the reading strategies method, it would also be wise to
do research on how students knowledge and comprehension were affected by the increase in
textbook usage. It would seem logical that increasing textbook usage would benefit student
grades. However, it is conceivable that students needed to use their textbook more because the
online textbook actually made the material harder to learn. The use of the online textbook
increased the amount of time students used their book, but may or may not have had a positive
correlation with comprehension.

Increasing Textbook Usage

36

How does addressing possible textbook shortcomings affect student textbook usage?
After completing the questionnaire for the online textbook method, students embarked on
another two week investigation where the educator attempted to increase textbook usage by
overcoming possible textbook shortcomings. This included many supplemental materials and
explanations, along with a thorough investigation of the textbook itself. Data were collected
following the implementation, with the first question again being about how often students use
their textbook. The results of that question are graphed below.

While the control group had the minority of students who responded that they often use
their textbook, the experimental group had very different results. The experimental group had a
relatively even split between students who reported often and sometimes reading their textbook,
with each group taking up about 45 percent of the population. Only the remaining 10 percent of
students responded as using their textbook rarely. This is obviously the opposite of what was true
for the pretest. Almost all students had felt like the amount of time they use their textbook had
increased.
The following chart also represents results taken from the questionnaire about using
resources to overcome textbook shortcomings. As was done for the other methods and pretest,

Increasing Textbook Usage

37

the second question focused more on the amount of times students use their textbook for help
than just for overall use. The results of that data are shown in the chart below.

The control group maintained the same general ratio as in previous questionnaires, with
the minority of students responding that they often use their textbook. However, comparing the
experimental group to the control, they appear to almost be the exact inverse of each other. The
minority of students in the experimental group reported rarely using their textbook. Both groups
maintained a strong portion of students who said they sometimes use their textbook for help.
Clearly the data and results demonstrate the strongest positive correlation of the three
methods tested. The fact that almost all of the students have switched from rarely using their
textbook to at least using it sometimes suggests that there is definite benefits to teachers
acknowledging the possible downsides of their personal textbook, and finding supplemental
ways to overcome those problems.
Being that this method resulted in the most positive gains of textbook usage, it requires
that it needs to be examined in several different perspectives. First, and most importantly, like
the other methods there is no guarantee that the use of this method is actually best practice for
student comprehension. It can be argued that the overstimulation and abundance of resources

Increasing Textbook Usage

38

only furthered the students struggles, and made them turn to the textbook for more answers.
What relationship this method has with student learning must be researched.
The second big result of this study should be an intense examination of the textbook
industry itself. If teachers can increase textbook usage by using an abundance of supplemental
resources, is there some way that those should be included in future textbooks? Worded
differently, would it not be expected that textbooks already overcame their own deficiencies? It
seems likely that textbook companies would love to know how to increase their own usage, and
that students generally feel that the textbooks they create are too hard and confusing to read.
Along with the refinement of the textbook, the type of supplements should be refined to
figure out which ones work best, both by content area and grade level. Being able to decide
which additional information works best could help alter the process and make it more teacher
friendly, even if textbooks are not changed to match student interest levels. This becomes
especially important as resources may dwindle depending on amount of teachers teaching the
subject or as textbooks begin to date themselves. The supplements created should be designed to
last throughout textbook changes and be only altered slightly to match with current best practice
information.
Post-test: After completion of the third and final cycle, students of both the control and
experimental groups were asked to complete several qualitative tasks, and responses to those
questions can be used to further direct future research opportunities. The first question posed
was: Why did students not use their textbook? Results of this question are given in the chart on
the following page.

Increasing Textbook Usage

39

The initial data demonstrates that even though the control and experimental groups
received different experiences throughout the study, they responded similarly to the question.
The majority of students responded that they simply do not use their textbook because they have
never used it. The only solution to this problem is to implement strategies to use the textbook at
an earlier grade level, rather than waiting to a high school level to implement that change.
There were only two areas where it can be seen that the experimental group had
potentially changed as a result of the methods tried. Students who were exposed to the ideas and
methods felt more comfortable knowing what resources were provided and finding access to
those resources. This is representative of the previous information, as those two categories can be
attributed to the online textbook usage and the supplements designed to overcome textbook
shortcomings.

Increasing Textbook Usage

40

Students in both groups were also asked: What do you think will increase your textbook
usage in the future, or increase textbook usage for future students? Those responses are listed in
a similar chart below.

The above chart also correlates with previous data. Students felt that if they were
exposed to better textbooks and at an earlier age, they would feel more adept at using them. The
experimental group also demonstrated that they would like to see an increase in online
information. This is especially important because they were the group that got to see what
resources were available and decided that they would like even more of those.

Increasing Textbook Usage

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V: Summary and Conclusions


This research was guided toward seeing what methods have the potential to increase
student textbook usage. The goal was not to examine best practice in terms of comprehension
and overall knowledge, but rather with the assumption that comprehension can be acquired
through increased textbook use. Students were exposed to several methods, and were asked to
assess their own level of usage throughout. The levels they reported were compared and
analyzed with a baseline established by a given pretest to conclude what methods are effective.
With both qualitative and quantitative data, this mixed-methods study concluded that
both the implementation of an online textbook and an increase of supplements designed to
overcome textbook shortcomings were effective methods for students to increase the amount of
time they use their textbook. Using a wide variety of comprehensive reading strategies was
found to negatively impact student textbook usage.
The researcher believes the scope of the research was correct for the amount of time
given to complete data collection. A project done with similar intentions deserves a longer
observation period, and as such it should be recommended that at least one year should be given
to fully assess each method used here.
Along with expanding the time frame, it would also be beneficial and necessary to
examine what would happen to the data if it were replicated with other teachers and across other
content areas. It would provide a reliable and valid conclusion to be derived from the data
collected. As has been proven over time, a case study of a classroom is not necessarily as
statistically relevant as one that reflects an entire population, such as a whole school.
Other methods of increasing textbook usage should also be examined. The three chosen
for this study were based on the literature review conducted before data collection took place.

Increasing Textbook Usage

42

There are other alternatives to these methods, and all should be tested to see if there is a
correlation. It would require a significant amount of time, but the literature is not conclusive on
proper textbook methods yet. Even throughout the time of review in this research, there was no
consensus on what to try on one content area, let alone a method that is effective across all of
them.
The educator believes that the data have been demonstrated and shown in the best
possible way to compare both the control and experimental, and how the experimental group
changed as a result of each particular method. However, the researcher would like to have done
more qualitative data collection to find out how students truly felt about the process and each
particular method. Qualitative data were collected less frequently than quantitative, and any
future investigation of this particular style and subject should try for a more even timeshare
among the two.
Finally, the educator has decided to adopt a more open view of textbooks for the
immediate future of classroom teaching. The online textbook and thorough examinations of the
textbooks will be used to help students feel more self-aware about their textbook usage. It is still
maintained that the textbook is used far too infrequently to benefit students and their level of
comprehension. Informal data collection will be consistently taken to see how students respond
to their textbook and if they are using it accordingly.
The action research process was an enriching one for an aspiring master teacher, as it
provides great insight into best practice and current methods. It is believed that only through
self-inspection can true growth occur, and the research done here provided an opportunity for
that to occur. It also opened the door for future action research to examine other parts of the
teaching repertoire.

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Appendix A: Ethics Training Certificate

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47

Appendix B: Pre-Instruction Textbook Questionnaire


***Please try to keep your identity confidential. Do not use your name or other identifying marks***
For the questions 1-2, please circle the answer that best fits you:
1) Based on past experiences, how often would you say that you have read your math textbook? This
could include whole lessons or just sections. Do not include assigned homework problems.

1-Never

2- Rarely

3-Sometimes

4-Often

5-Always

2) How often do you use your textbook to help you with things you may not understand?

1-Never

2- Rarely

3-Sometimes

4-Often

5-Always

3) What do you think is the most difficult part about reading a math textbook?
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________

4) Is there anything that could be done to encourage or motivate you to use your textbook more? Explain
why you answered yes or no.
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________

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Appendix C: End of Instructional Cycle Questionnaire


***Please try to keep your identity confidential. Do not use your name or other identifying marks***
For the questions 1-2, please circle the answer that best fits you:
1) Do you feel like your use of your math textbook (other than for assigned problems) in the last two weeks:

1-Decreased Significantly 2-Decreased Slightly

3-Stayed the Same

4-Increased Slightly 5-Increased Significantly

2) How often have you used your textbook to help you with things you may not understand?

1-Never

2- Rarely

3-Sometimes

4-Often

5-Always

3) Is there anything that has happened in the last two weeks that has changed the way you view
your textbook? Be specific!
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________

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Appendix D: Post-Instruction Textbook Questionnaire


***Please try to keep your identity confidential. Do not use your name or other identifying marks***
For the questions 1-2, please circle the answer that best fits you:
1) How often have you used your textbook since the beginning of this semester? This could include whole
lessons or just sections. Do not include assigned homework problems.

1-Never

2- Rarely

3-Sometimes

4-Often

5-Always

2) How often have you used your textbook to help you with things you may not understand?

1-Never

2- Rarely

3-Sometimes

4-Often

5-Always

3) What, if any, classroom activities have influenced your use of the textbook? Be specific about what
impacted you, and if the impact was positive or negative.
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________

4) What strategies have you used in other classes? Do you feel as though anything talked about in class
will help you in future learning?
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Increasing Textbook Usage

50

Appendix E: Powerpoint Presentation


Open your Book:
Methods for
increasing
textbook usage

One Algebra 1 and One Geometry each for control and


experimental

Freshman and Sophomores at Elkhorn South High School

Generally higher socio-economic status and predominantly


Caucasian

BY GUNNER BROWN
DOANE COLLEGE EDU 603/604

FALL 2014

Guiding Question One:


How does using
different reading
comprehension
strategies affect
student textbook
usage?

Textbooks are underutilized by the majority of students

Main factors that influence lack of textbook usage:


Too

Guiding Question Two:


How

does the
implementation of
online textbooks
affect student
textbook usage?

Guiding Question
Three:
How does
addressing possible
textbook
shortcomings affect
student textbook
usage?

Research Design

Students divided up into


control/experimental

Each method used for two weeks,


questionnaires after each set

Pretest

Students

from both
groups report rarely
using their textbook

All

students use their


book more often for
help than for anything
else (such as prereading, study guides,
etc)

Students

in the
experimental group use
their textbook slightly
less than the control
group

Qualitative data collected


throughout and during in-class
discussions
Post-method use contained
discussion geared towards
possible future study

Algebra 1
Experimental

Experimental

Geometry
Control

Geometry
Experimental

Reading Strategies
Control

group remained
about the same as the
pretest (will be true
throughout study, as
expected)

Experimental

group
drastically lowered
usage from the control

Reading

strategies had
a negative impact on
textbook usage

Overcoming textbook Problems

Eye to the future: Post-Test

Slight

increase in control
group, must be due to
content area during
observation time

of book resources

Reading is critically important to math understanding

Timeline of Events

Algebra 1
Control

Control

too confusing

Unsure

Busy

Book

Variety of academic performance levels

What Strategies are effective in helping


students increase textbook usage?

Literature Review

Context of the study

Experimental

group
experienced massive
increase in all areas,
almost an inverse of
pretest data

Had

an extreme
positive correlation with
textbook usage, best
method by far

Summary

Only three methods tested here, need to be tested in other content areas and for
longer period of time

If goal is simply to increase textbook usage, data concludes that the best method
is to attack textbook shortcomings with supplemental material

The online textbook can be beneficial to textbook usage

Use of reading strategies is a negative impact on textbook usage

Is this a good thing? How does each method affect comprehension and
understanding?

I will continue to use all three methods, however levels will vary

Pretest: Initial questionnaire, quantitative and qualitative data collected

Two weeks implementing reading strategies to experimental group

End of cycle questionnaire, mostly quantitative data

Two weeks using the online textbook in class, discussing its resources

End of cycle questionnaire #2, mostly quantitative data

Final two weeks using supplements designed to overcome textbook flaws

End of cycle questionnaire #3

Post-test: Designed to assess methods further and set up future observations, mostly
qualitative data

Online textbook

Control

still steady,
nearly identical in this
case

Experimental

had
drastic increase in
students who said they
often use their book,
about 1/3 for each
category

Generally

the online
textbook had a positive
impact on textbook
usage, but still large
section of students who
did not use the book

Eye to the future: Post-Test part two