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Book and Learning Materials Reviewer's Checklist

 

by John M. Zeigler, Ph.D.
Rio Rancho, NM USA

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he Piano Education Page books and learning materials review checklist, given to all of our piano teacher reviewers as a guideline for their reviews, is below. The purpose of the checklist is to provide reviewers the means by which they can perform reviews fairly and thoroughly in accordance with specific standards, assign ratings that are as consistent as possible with other reviews within the bounds of opinion and informed human judgment, structure the review in a manner that is consistent in format with our other reviews, and provide all the necessary information for the reader to be able to evaluate and buy the item, if they are so inclined. Within question groups, questions may be answered in any order that makes sense to the reviewer. We do not attempt to dictate the content of the review to reviewers, aside from requesting that they answer the questions below as they see fit, based on their experience using the program.

 

 

The Review

Full Name of Reviewed Books or Learning Material

Opening

  • Opening paragraph should be a short "teaser’ summary of your review and of your impressions.

Basic Description

  • What is the book or learning material about and what is it intended to do?
  • Is it a standalone item or intended to be used in conjunction with some other book or material (i.e. is it primary or supplemental)?
  • What topics does the book cover (discuss in general or list chapters)?
  • What is its apparent intended audience (children, adults, teachers, etc.)? This should be determined by examination of the item, not by reference to claims by the manufacturer.
  • If part of a series of books or items, please give a general description of the rest of the series.

Using the Books or Learning Materials

  • Discuss the general format of the book or other learning material (e.g. music on the right of the page with explanatory comments on the left, etc)
  • Amount, appropriateness and quality of graphics. Are they used effectively to further learning?
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Anything in the book you would like to see changed, added, or fixed?
  • Pedagogical soundness? For example, does the book or video use an approach which impedes sight reading?
  • What does it do and not do?
  • What type of audience is it appropriate for? (Young children? Older children? Adults? All?)
  • Did your students enjoy and learn from it?
  • Appropriate for studio or home or both?
  • If the book or materials are part of a "method" set, are there sufficient supporting materials to allow the teacher to use the book effectively in teaching?
  • Is the list price for the item reasonable for what it does? Does it accomplish what it sets out to do?

Summary of Impressions

  • Summarize the best and worst points
  • If the publisher/manufacturer has a web page on the product where the reader can learn more, provide URL where it can be read.
  • Would you as a piano teacher recommend it to another teacher or to your students? Would you pay list price for it to use in your studio?

Name, ISBN number, price, hardware requirements (VERY IMPORTANT)

  • Full name of item, list price, unique identifying numbers (for books - ISBN number and/or publisher's part number; for videos and other learning materials - manufacturer's part number)
  • Publisher/manufacturer name, address, phone number, Web page URL if available, e-mail address if available.
  • If other books or items are required to use the reviewed item or as a prerequisite, mention those here.
  • Any other unique or critical information to identify the product or source.

 

 
 
 
 
Page created: 1/12/05
Last updated: 01/30/15
 
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Reprinting from the Piano Education Page The Piano Education Page, Op. 10, No. 1, http://pianoeducation.org
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