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AAAS  :: Project 2061  :: Textbook Evaluations

Middle Grades Science Textbooks: A Benchmarks-Based Evaluation

Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Science. Macmillan/McGraw-Hill School Publishing Company, 1995
Earth Science Life Science Physical Science

About this Evaluation Report
Content Analysis
Instructional Analysis

The Macmillan/McGraw-Hill program for science at the middle grades level distributes physical, Earth, and life science topics across a total of 18 stand-alone units (units 25–42), or textbooks, that span grades five through eight.

This program has been evaluated in terms of how well its content matches each of three topic-specific sets of key science ideas, and how well it provides effective instructional material in terms of a set of universal criteria for the teaching of science ideas. This report on Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Science assesses the program’s life science component.

The life science idea set focuses on the transformations of matter and energy in living systems, including organisms and ecosystems. In the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Science program, the material relating to these key ideas is to be found in seven units: Unit 30: The Plant Kingdom, Unit 29: Earth’s Riches, and Unit 26: The Animal Kingdom in the sixth grade; Unit 36: Earth’s Ecosystems, Unit 31: Simple Organisms and Viruses, and Unit 34: Oceans in Motion in the seventh grade; and Unit 38: Changes in Ecosystems in the eighth grade. All of the key ideas are treated in this program, although some are treated more completely and extensively than others.

The other two sections of this report—the Content Analysis and the Instructional Analysis—summarize the results of the evaluation of the life science content and instructional efficacy of Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Science.

In both sections, the within-the-text page references to the evaluated materials have been clarified by appending letter suffixes to the cited page numbers: “s” denotes the student text (as in “p. 33s”), and “t” denotes the Teacher’s Planning Guide (as in “p. 33t”). In some instances, both materials are cited (as in “p. 33st”). Also, the use of the prefix “T” in a page number (e.g., “T6”) indicates the teacher’s notes at the front of the planning guide. In addition, lowercase letter suffixes are used in the Teacher’s Planning Guide itself to designate multiple-part pages (as in “p. 22a,” “p. 22b,” etc.), but the letters involved occur early in the alphabet and are not likely to be confused with the evaluators’ clarification system.

The reference works cited in this report are given as complete citations in the References list, along with those cited in other reports in this document. The References list can be accessed by clicking on the link at the beginning of each content and instructional analysis. To view a specific research reference while reading the content and instructional analyses, simply click on the in-text citation.

The key science ideas and the instructional analysis categories are presented and discussed under Project 2061 Analysis Procedure on the main menu.