New forum helps science teachers evaluate textbooks

Based on the belief that no one knows a textbook better than a teacher who has used it in the classroom, the Environmental Literacy Council (ELC) has launched, a web site intended to help educators choose the best science textbooks for their classrooms. Despite the considerable amount of money and effort that has been invested in developing academic content standards, the quality and reliability of most scientific textbooks still falls short of teachers’ expectations, according to ELC. Because textbooks vary so greatly with regard to scientific accuracy and teaching effectiveness–and because of the bewildering mix of local, state, and federal requirements–science textbook selection is a challenging task for many educators. To help make this process easier, is recruiting both certified teachers and scientists to review a host of potentially useful textbooks for their accuracy, balance, and overall classroom effectiveness. Upon visiting the site, educators will be able to read reviews as well as post their own critiques of books with which they have had experience. Aside from reviews, the web site also offers news updates, results of pilot tests and evaluations, information about the most widely used texts, and links to textbook reviews from organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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