Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 13/13.3.2

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Student Written Text Material By Luis Batista

Learning Targets[edit]

Readers will understand what Student Written Text Material is.

Readers will be able to distinguish the credibility of Student Written Text Material.

Readers will be given insight on the use and future of Student Written Text Material.


Since the days of Aristotle and Plato, the establishment of student-teacher relationship was a key component in the success of rising scholars. There has always been an understanding that those who instruct are those that have experienced enough to be considered credible to teach. As the world step deeper into the 21st century, change in the flow of information has deeply changed the school of thought. The question must arise; can students teach other students?

What is Student Written Text Material?[edit]

Student Written Text Material is exactly what it sounds like. Students take the responsibility of writing their own textbooks and information on specific subjects and topics. This take at the reigns usually begins at a University level, but in some cases students as early as high school are beginning to write their own learning material to pass on to further generations.

What is the Process Students Take?[edit]

Students usually begin the process of their written text material under the guidance/supervision of a professor and his or her Teaching Assistants. Students choose one of the given subjects to investigate and complete their research before they begin to write an article on the chosen subject. The students article is then chosen by another student for peer review. After the review is complete, the author is given suggestions for revision and taking those into account revisions are made.

Are Student Written Textbooks Credible?[edit]

The credibility of students is always in question when it comes to writing a textbook. What does a student know about writing a textbook? Aren't they the ones who are supposed to learn? How can they write a textbook when they are still buying them? It is only in time and experience that one can master his/her work. That being said, where is line that draws between the experienced and the novice? It is not without mistakes that we can learn to become the best at what we do.

When creating a student written textbook, his findings and work is peer-review to create the most accurate and reader friendly material. Some believe that the conventional style of corporate companies writing textbooks has lost its value. Scott Jaschik claims that "faculty members need to move beyond an assumption that writing quality is the key way to evaluate textbooks. When writing quality is high, students who read the textbook appear to have benefited with a correlation in predicted exam scores" (Jaschik, 2008).

On the other hand some say students are not ready for this type of responsibility. In a study that compared a table of contents edited by students against those of a commercial, one said that "students’ priorities about ed psych may not coincide either with the typical contents of commercial textbooks, NOR with instructor-held impressions about what students' priorities "actually" are. This may be a problem when trying to use a commercial text that aspires to be universally relevant" (Seifert, 2008).

The Use and Future of Student Written Text Material[edit]

With the added bonus of a book that is cost nothing at all, it seems like student written texts are closer than ever. There is some displeasure with the way today's textbooks are written. One source claims that, "Students frequently complain that they have a difficult time sorting through the overabundance of content and technical jargon. Sadly, the tone of textbooks--impersonal, authoritative, and objective--fails to engage student interest" (Shibley, 55). Another source that agrees with a feeling of displeasure says "students normally don't read the textbook in conjunction with classroom activities, but rather use it as an adjunct to solve problems, picking out what they perceive to be useful solved problems and useful pieces of information" (Kalman, 77).

Although some textbooks may be difficult to follow, read, or comprehend, it is up to the writer to consider its readers. In the hands of a student, it might be more beneficial to a fellow student. What better way to teach than in the same language? While some agree that students may not have all the experience of today's textbook writers, the future in which students write books for fellow students seems brighter than ever.

Multiple Choice[edit]

1. What does the future hold for student writers?

  a. No one will believe what is written
  b. There will not be enough money to publish it
  c. The future seems closer than ever
  d. Very unpredictable to us

2. What was one reason stated that some are displeased with conventional textbook writers?

  a. Both B and C
  b. Students can not understand them
  c. Students do not read them
  d. Students do not like the prices

3. Which is not a reason why students should use student written text?

  a. It is free
  b. It is easier to understand
  c. The information in the text has been peer reviewed for accuracy
  d. The text is very credible

4. Which is not a part of the process of a student written text?

  a. Assessing what is true and what is opinion
  b. Peer review
  c. Revision
  d. Writing under the guidance of an instructor


1)c. The future seems closer than ever 2)a. Both B and C 3)d. The text is very credible 4)a. Assessing what is true and what is opinion


Textbooks have always given us insight into the knowledge we hope to obtain. Some believe that students are not up to the task of writing their own textbooks. Some believe that it is time for a change. The debate is still up in the air and the decision is not for us to make, but for those of a later generation. It is classes like this one that are taking the first step towards the future.


Jaschik, Scott (2007, August 20). Why students read textbooks (or don't). Retrieved February 22, 2009, from Inside Higher Ed Web site:

Kalman, C., et al., Students' Perceptions of Reflective Writing as a Tool for Exploring an Introductory Textbook. Journal of College Science Teaching v. 37 no. 4 (March/April 2008) p. 74-81

Seifert, Kelvin (2008, December 20). Some differeces between student-written and commercial textbooks about educational psychology. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from Teaching Educational Psychology Open-Source Web site:

Shibley, I., et al., Using Science Popularizations to Promote Learner-Centered Teaching: Alternatives to the Traditional Textbook. Journal of College Science Teaching v. 38 no. 2 (November/December 2008) p. 54-58

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