Cognitive opportunities in textbooks: the cases of grade four and eight textbooks in Israel

Linor L. Hadar, T. Lefcourt Ruby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cognitive domain in mathematics, defined as thinking and understanding in the process of learning mathematics, is a main focus of curricula in many countries. This study explores breadth and depth of understanding as addressed in mathematics textbooks certified as aligned to Israeli national mathematics curricula. We compare opportunities for students to engage with mathematics requiring different types and levels of understanding provided by the tasks in mathematics textbooks. Comparison of two fourth grade and two eighth grade mathematics textbooks showed significant differences in the opportunities to learn in the cognitive domain that each provides. These differences can be quantified; the quantification defines the cognitive demand of the textbook. The cognitive demand of the four textbooks varies. This reveals a potential source of inequity in students’ opportunities to learn mathematics. Results should prompt discussion around standardization and alignment of textbooks to the cognitive goals of the curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-77
Number of pages24
JournalMathematical Thinking and Learning
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis.


  • Textbooks
  • cognitive domain
  • curriculum
  • mathematics
  • opportunities to learn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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