A Thorough Scrutiny of ELT Textbook Evaluations: A Review Inquiry

Reza Gholami, Nooreen Noordin, Shameem Rafik-Galea


It is thoroughly agreed that English language textbooks stand amongst the foremost components in any language classrooms worldwide, being referred to as valid, beneficial and labor-saving tools to fulfill an extensive range of needs. An ELT textbook is not merely a set of sheets of paper fastened together to hinge at one side, but is the beating heart of any education system whereupon the whole learning revolves. Notwithstanding their interminable benefits, it is admitted that still the compiled textbooks, especially the ones prescribed in Educational systems have to be evaluated and assessed to confirm whether they fulfil the objectives they are meant for or not, as it is said no perfect textbook exists. Having dealt with evaluation in general, this research meticulously elaborates on textbook evaluation more specifically concluding that there is a dearth of inquiry on textbook selection and evaluation. Afterwards, this research introduces the most common approaches for evaluating ELT textbooks and materials. The paper culminates with concluding remarks and implications, hoping to shed light on how textbook evaluation is practiced worldwide.

Full Text:



Aghagolzadeh, F., & Davari, H. (2017). English Education in Iran: From Ambivalent Policies to Paradoxical Practices. In English Language Education Policy in the Middle East and North Africa (pp. 47-62). Springer International Publishing.

Ahmadi, A., & Derakhshan, A. (2016). EFL Teachers' Perceptions towards Textbook Evaluation. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 6(2), 260-267.

Ahmadi, A., & Derakhshan, A. (2015). An Evaluation of the Iranian Junior High School English Textbooks. International Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, 4(1), 37-48.

Ahmed, M., Yaqoob, H., & Yaqoob, M. (2015). Evaluation of Listening Skill of ELT Textbook at Secondary School Level. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 6(3), 225-229.

Ahour, T., & Ahmadi, E. (2012). Retrospective evaluation of textbook “Summit 2B” for its suitability for EFL undergraduate students. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 2(5), 195-202.

Aliakbari, M. (2004). The place of culture in the Iranian ELT textbooks in high school level. The Linguistic Journal, 1, 1-14.

Akbari, O., & Pourabbas, H. (2015). Evaluation of Iranian Second-Grade High School English Textbook Based on Needs Analysis Approach. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 2(5), 19-34.

Allehyani, B., Burnapp, D., & Wilson, J. (2017a). The Place of Inner-Circle Culture in Saudi Secondary School Textbooks. International Journal of English and Education, 6(2), 1-12.

Allehyani, B., Burnapp, D., & Wilson, J. (2017b). A comparison of teaching materials (school textbooks vs authentic materials) from the perspective of English teachers and educational supervisors in Saudi Arabia. International Journal of English Language and Linguistics Research, 5(2), 1-14.

Allwright, R. L. (1981). What do we want teaching materials for? 1. ELT journal, 36(1), 5-18.

Ansary, H., & Babaii, E. (2002). Universal characteristics of EFL/ESL textbooks: A step towards systematic textbook evaluation. The Internet TESL Journal, 8(2), 1-9.

Asher, R.E. (Ed.). (1994). The encyclopedia of language and linguistics. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Aviles, C. B. (2000). Teaching and testing for critical thinking with Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED446023).

Bagheri, M., Zendehboudi, K., Mehr, A. R., Teimouri, E., & Tashakori, S. (2015). An In-depth Evaluation of the Textbook Prospect One. The Iranian EFL Journal April 2015 Volume 11 Issue 2, 88 - 94

Besharati, M.H., & Mazdayasna, G. (2017). Investigating Iranian EFL students’ attitudes concerning the newly developed ESP materials. Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods, 7(5),45-58.

Brumfit, C. J. (1980). Seven last slogans. Modern English Teacher, 7(1), 30-31.

Byrd, P. (2001). Textbooks: Evaluation for selection and analysis for implementation. Teaching English as a second or foreign language, 3, 415-428.

Çakit, I. (2006). Evaluation of the EFL Textbook “New Bridge to Success 3” From the Perspectives of Students and Teachers (Unpublished MA Thesis). Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

Catalán, R. M. J., & Francisco, R. M. (2008). Vocabulary input in EFL textbooks. Revista Española De Lingüística Aplicada (RESLA), (21), 147-166.

Chowdhury, M. Y. U. K. (2016). Case Study of the Commercially Published ELT materials in Foundation of English Course Books 1 & 2. IIUC Studies, 10, 173-182.

Cortazzi, M. (2000). Languages, cultures, and cultures of learning in the global classroom. Anthology Series-Seameo Regional Language Centre, 75-103.

Cunningsworth, A. (1995). Choosing your coursebook. Oxford: Heinemann.

Dalim, S.F.and Mubarrak, M. (2013). Quantitative method of textbook evaluation for chemistry (KBSM) Form 4 textbook. Proceeding of the International Conference on Social Science Research, ICSSR 2013 (e-ISBN 978-967-11768-1-8). 4-5 June 2013, Penang, Malaysia. Organized by WorldConferences.net.

Davari, S., & Moini, M. R. (2016). The Representation of Social Actors in Top Notch Textbook Series: A critical discourse analysis perspective. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Research, 4(13), 69-82.

Dendrinos, B. (1992). The EFL textbook and ideology. Grivas.

Dubin. F. Olshtain, E. (1986). Course Design. Developing Programs and Materials for Language Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ebadi, S., & Naderifarjad, Z. (2015). Evaluation of EAP Textbooks: A Comparison between SAMT English for Medical Students and Oxford English for Career. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 2(3), 133-149.

Ellis, R. (1997). The empirical evaluation of language teaching materials. ELT journal, 51(1), 36-42.

Farzaneh, N., Kohandani, M., & Nejadansari, D. (2014). A textbook evaluation of socio-cultural contexts in top notch series. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 472-481.

Feng, A., & Byram, M. (2002). Authenticity in College English textbooks-An intercultural perspective. RELC Journal, 33(2), 58-84.

Garinger, D. (2002). Textbook selection for the ESL classroom. Center for Applied Linguistics Digest. Retrieved in June 2016 from: http://www.cal.org/ericcll/digest/0210garinger.html.

Gebregeorgis, M. Y. (2017). Peace values in language textbooks: the case of English for Ethiopia Student Textbook. Journal of Peace Education, 14(1), 54-68.

Genesee, F. (2001). Evaluation. In R. Carter, & D. Nunan (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other languages (pp. 144-150). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ghufron, M. A., & Saleh, M. (2016a). Designing a model of research paper writing instructional materials for academic writing course: Textbook evaluation. Language Circle: Journal of Language and Literature, 10(2), 113-123.

Ghufron, M. A., & Saleh, M. (2016b). Evaluating academic writing textbook: Teachers’ and students’ perspectives. Arab World English Journal, 7(1), 326-340.

Grant, M. (1987). Making the most of your textbook. London: Longman.

Graves, K. (2000). Designing language courses: A guide for teachers. Boston: Heinle.

Haghverdi, H. R. & Ghasemi, B. (2013). An evaluation of American English File series. Iranian Journal of Research in English Language Teaching, 1(2), 83-97.

Hamidi, H., Bagheri, M., Sarinavaee, M., & Seyyedpour, A. (2016). Evaluation of Two General English Textbooks: New Interchange 2 vs. Four Corners 3. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 7(2), 345-351.

Hamidi, H., Montazeri, M., Alizadeh, K., & Rezaie, J. (2015). A comparative evaluation and analysis of two general English textbooks: Four Corners 1 vs. Top Notch Fundamentals A. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5(6), 1192-1199.

Harmer, J. (1991). The Practice of English Language Teaching. London: Longman.

Haycraft, J. (1978). An introduction to English language teaching. Longman Publishing Group.

Hutchinson, T., & Torres, E. (1994). The textbook as agent of change. ELT journal, 48(4), 315-328.

Hutchinson, T. & Waters, A. (1987). English for Specific Purposes: A learning-centred approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Isazadeh, P. & Afzali, P., & Basir, Z. (2017) Teaching English in the EFL context of Iran: Perceptions, implications and restrictions. Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods, 7(2),89-93.

Jamalvandi, B. (2014). ELT Textbook Evaluation in Iran, New Insights. European Online Journal of Natural and Social Sciences, 3(4), 1068-1078.

Jeyachandra, S. (2009). Textbook Analysis of English for Engineers. Language in India, 9(10), 187-224.

Karimi, S., Kargar, A., & Behjat, F. (2015). An evaluation of commonly used general English textbooks of Iranian university contexts. Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods, 5(3), 257-269.

Khodadady, E., & Shayesteh, S. (2016). Cultural and linguistic imperialism and the EIL movement: Evidence from a textbook analysis. Issues in Educational Research, 26(4), 604-622.

Khodadady, E., & Attaran, A. (2017). Evaluation of “Ready for First Certificate of English”: Microstructural Approach. International and Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Sciences, 6(1), 1-22.

Khoo, H. S., & Knight, P. (2015). Teachers’ Evaluation of KBSM Form 4, 5 English Textbooks Used in the Secondary Schools in Penang, Malaysia. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 6(4), 128-150.

Kiely R. (2009). Small answers to the big question: Learning from language program evaluation. Language Teaching Research, 13(1), 99-116.

Klanawong, S. (2017). A Study of Reading Questions in High School English Textbooks and National Tests. The New English Teacher, 11(1), 44-68.

Kraishan, O. M., & Almaamah, I. (2016). Evaluation of the Third Class Science Text Book from the Teacher’s Perspective at Madaba Municipality. International Education Studies, 9(3), 123-130.

Kulm, G., Roseman, J., & Treistman, M. (1999). A benchmarks-based approach to textbook evaluation. Science Books & Films, 35(4), 147-153.

Langroudi, J., & Behrozi, E. (2015). Evaluation of an ESP Textbook for the Students of Accounting. The Iranian EFL Journal April 2015 Volume 11 Issue 2, 2(5), 109-125.

Litz, D. R. (2005). Textbook evaluation and ELT management: A South Korean case study. Asian EFL journal, 48, 1-53.

Mahmood, K. (2010). Textbook Evaluation in Pakistan: Issue of Conformity to the National Curriculum Guidelines. Bulletin of Education and Research, 32(1), 15-36.

Maleki, A., Mollaee, F., & Khosravi, R. (2014). A content evaluation of Iranian pre-university ELT textbook. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4(5), 995-1000.

Margana, M., & Widyantoro, A. (2017). Developing English Textbooks Oriented to Higher Order Thinking Skills for Students of Vocational High Schools in Yogyakarta. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 8(1), 26-38.

McGrath, I. (2002). Materials Evaluation and Design for Language Teaching. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Miekley, J. (2005). ESL textbook evaluation checklist. The Reading Matrix, 5(2). Retrieved from: http://www.readingmatrix. com/reading_projects/miekley/project.pdf.

Moghtadi, L. (2014). Iranian high school EFL textbooks: Why they should be modified. International Journal of Language Learning and Applied Linguistics World, 5(2), 53-69.

Mohammadi, M., & Abdi, H. (2014). Textbook evaluation: A case study. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 1148-1155.

Montasser, M. A. (2013). Developing an English language textbook evaluative checklist. IOSR Journal of Research & Method in Education, 1(3), 55-70.

Mukundan, J. (2010). Evaluation of english language textbooks: Some important issues for consideration. Journal of NELTA, 12(1), 80-84.

Mukundan, J. (2004). Making textbook evaluation meaningful. ELT Matters, 2, 105-113.

Murakami, A. (2009). A corpus-based study of English textbooks in Japan and Asian countries: Multidimensional approach. Unpublished master’s thesis. Tokyo: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

Najafi Sarem, S., Hamidi, H., & Mahmoudie, R. (2013). A critical look at textbook evaluation: A case study of evaluating an ESP course-book: English for international tourism. International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences, 4(2), 372-380.

Naseem, S., Shah, S. K., & Tabassum, S. (2015). Evaluation of English textbook in Pakistan: A case study of punjab textbook for 9th class. European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, 3(3), 24-42.

Nazeer, M., Shah, S. K., & Sarwat, Z. (2015). Evaluation of Oxon English Textbook Used in Pakistan Public Schools for 6th & 7th Grade. Journal for the Study of English Linguistics, 3(1), 51-79.

Nicholls, J. (2003). Methods in school textbook research. International journal of historical learning, teaching and research, 3(2), 11-26.

Nooreen, N., & Arshad, A. S. (2005). Examining the importance of EST and ESL textbooks and materials: Objectives, content and form. English for Specific Purposes World, 9(4). Retreived from http://www.esp-world.info/Articles_9/textbooks.htm.

Nunan, D. (1998). The learner-centered curriculum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nunan, D. (1988). Syllabus design. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

O'Neill, R. (1982). Why use textbooks?. ELT journal, 36(2), 104-111.

Parrish, B. (2004). Teaching Adult ESLA Practical Introduction. New York: McGraw Hill.

Pourahmad, A., Naderi, K., & Heidarpoor, S. (2015). A Comparison between the New Version of Iranian High-School English Textbooks and the Internationally-Produced Top Notch Series: A Comparative Study. Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods, 5(4), 31-43.

Prabhu, N. S (1987). Second Language Pedagogy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Riazi, A. M. (2003). What Textbook Evaluation Schemes Tel Us? A Study of the Textbok Evaluation Schemes of Three Decades, in W. A. Renanda. (ed.), Methodology and Materials Design in Language Teaching, Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Center, pp. 52-68.

Riazi, A. M., & Mosalanejad, N. (2010). Evaluation of learning objectives in Iranian high-school and pre-university English textbooks using Bloom’s taxonomy. TESL-EJ: The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, 13(4).

Richards, J. C. (2010). Competence and performance in language teaching. RELC journal, 41(2), 101-122.

Richards, J. C. (2007). Curriculum development in language teaching. Eighth printing. New York: Longman.

Richards, J. C. (1993). Beyond the text book: The role of commercial materials in language teaching. RELC journal, 24(1), 1-14.

Richards, J. C., & Renandya, W. A. (2002). Methodology in language teaching: An anthology of current practice. Cambridge university press.

Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2014). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge university press.

Saadipour, A., & Shakouri, A. (2016). A Comparative Study of English Textbooks in Iranian Non-Profit Institutes and Schools. International Journal of Multidisciplinary and Current research, 4, 322-327.

Salehi, H., & Khadivar, Z. (2015). Evaluation of an ESP Medical Textbook: Instructors and Learners’ Perceptions in Focus. International Education Studies, 8(7), 97-107.

Salehi, H., Khadivar, Z., Babaee, R., Singh, J., & Kaur, H. (2015). An evaluating study on ESP medical textbook: instructors and learners needs analysis. English Language Teaching, 8(7), 142-151.

Samadikhah, M., & Shahrokhi, M. (2015). A Critical Discourse Analysis of ELT Materials in Gender Representation: A Comparison of Summit and Top Notch. English Language Teaching, 8(1), 121-134.

Schmidt, W. H., McKnight, C. C., & Raizen, S. (Eds.). (2007). A splintered vision: An investigation of US science and mathematics education (Vol. 3). Springer Science & Business Media.

Shah, S. K., Ahmed, M., & Mahmood, R. (2014). Representation of target culture in the ELT textbooks in Pakistan: Evaluation of “Oxford Progressive English” for cultural relevance. Journal of Education and Practice, 5 (13), 89-101.

Shannon, p. (2010). Textbook Development and Selection. International Encyclopedia of Education (Third Edition).

Shardakova, M., & Pavlenko, A. (2004). Identity options in Russian textbooks. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 3(1), 25-46.

Sheldon, L. E. (1988). Evaluating ELT textbooks and materials. ELT journal, 42(4), 237-246.

Sheldon, L. E. (Ed.). (1987). ELT textbooks and materials: Problems in evaluation and development. Modern English Publications.

Skierso, A. (1991). Textbook selection and evaluation. Teaching English as a second or foreign language, 2, 432-453.

Son, J. W., & Diletti, J. (2017). What Can We Learn from Textbook Analysis?. In What Matters? Research Trends in International Comparative Studies in Mathematics Education (pp. 3-32). Springer International Publishing.

Soori, A., Kafipour, R., & Soury, M. (2011). EFL textbook evaluation and graphic representation. European Journal of Social Sciences, 26(3), 481-493.

Sultana, Q. (2001). Scholarly teaching – Application of Bloom’s taxonomy in Kentucky’s Classrooms. Paper presented at the Third Annual Conference on Scholarship and Teaching, Bowling Green, KY. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 471982.).

Sun Hao (2017). The Analysis and Evaluation of New Standard English Student’s Book One. Campus English Magazine, 3, 3-3.

Thornbury, S. (2002). How to Teach Vocabulary. Harlow: Longman.

Tok, H. (2010). TEFL textbook evaluation: From teachers' perspectives. Educational Research and Reviews, 5(9), 508-517.

Tomlinson, B. (2011). Materials development in language teaching. Cambridge University Press.

Tomlinson, B. (1998). Materials development in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tomlinson, B. (Ed.). (1996). Materials development in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P. (1996). A course in language teaching: practice and theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Vassilakis, G. (1997). Materials and methods: Need they be in conflict? Paper presented by at the TESOL Greece Saturday seminar on Material Choice and Development in the EFL Classroom (9th February)

Widodo, H. P. (2015). Textbook analysis on college academic writing. TEFLIN Journal, 18(2), 109-122.

Williams, D. (1983). Developing criteria for textbook evaluation. ELT Journal, 37(3), 251-255.

Zewdie, Z. M. (2014). Analysis of Grades 7 and 8 Physics Textbooks: A Quantitative Approach. American Journal of Educational Research, 2(1), 44-49.

Zohrabi, M., Sabouri, H., & Kheradmand, M. (2014). Comparative study of Interchange1 and English book1 of Iranian high schools. Education International Journal of English, 3(2), 95-104.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijels.v.5n.3p.82


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2019 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies  

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.