Freedom of Design: The Multiple Faces of Subtraction in Dutch Primary School Textbooks

Part of the Advances in Mathematics Education book series (AME)


Mathematics textbook series largely determine what teachers teach and consequently, what students learn. In the Netherlands, publishers have hardly any restrictions in developing and publishing textbooks. The Dutch government only prescribes the content to be taught very broadly and does not provide guidelines on how content has to be taught. In this study, the consequences of this freedom of design are investigated by carrying out a textbook analysis on the topic of subtraction up to 100. To examine the relationship between the intended curriculum and the potentially implemented curriculum, we analyzed the mathematical content and performance expectations of two Dutch textbook series. In order to get a closer view of the learning opportunities offered, the learning facilitators of the textbook series were also analyzed. The results of the analysis show that the investigated textbook series vary in their agreement with the intended curriculum with respect to content and performance expectations. The textbook series reflect divergent views on subtraction up to 100 as a mathematical topic. Furthermore, they differ in the incorporated ideas about mathematics education, as shown in the learning facilitators they provide. Consequently, the examined textbook series provide very different opportunities to students to learn subtraction up to 100.


Textbook analysis Subtraction up to 100 Mathematical content Performance expectations Learning facilitators Intended curriculum Potentially implemented curriculum 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Freudenthal Institute for Science and Mathematics EducationFaculty of Science, Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Freudenthal Institute of Science and Mathematics Education, Faculty of Science & Faculty of Social and Behavioural SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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