A comparative analysis of three high school textbooks’ concepts in Algebra in South Africa and Angola.
Pedro, Isabel Maria Joaquim Borges.
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The purpose of this study was to conduct a comparative analysis of algebra sections in three textbooks; one South African grade 9, one South African grade 10, and one Angolan grade 10. Firstly, I compared the textbooks in terms of topics covered. Secondly, I compared the distribution of the text on explanations, examples and exercises, respectively. Thirdly, I used the levels of understanding of algebraic expressions suggested by Sfard and Linchevski (1994) to investigate progression and consistency of the texts. Finally, I looked at the number of steps required to move from task to solution in the examples and exercises, providing a different measure of progression. The findings revealed that the textbook for Angola is more advanced than the textbooks for South Africa in terms of topics, explanations and examples, and contains far fewer exercises. Therefore, in terms of their explanations, the textbooks from Angola are denser and have more detailed clarifications than the South African textbooks. In terms of examples and exercises, the textbooks from Angola have fewer exercises than South African textbooks. The progression both in terms of levels of understanding of algebraic expressions and in terms of number of steps required to solve tasks is swifter in the Angolan textbook. Also, there is less focus on symbol manipulation without conceptual content in the Angolan textbook. Although much depends on the ways in which textbooks are used in the classroom, this suggests that the Angolan textbook offers the learners more opportunities to learn. There were some signs that the South African textbooks had been organized in ways informed by research, and in a few cases the exercises in the South African textbooks were more explorative, allowing learners more opportunities to develop deeper conceptual understanding. This was, however, not a dominant feature.