WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- American publishers today refuted assertions by a Public Interest Research Group study released Tuesday on textbook prices, citing its flawed methodology, selective use of data and lack of acknowledgement of recent research data that offer a different point of view. "I am concerned that PIRG is failing to focus on the real needs of today's college students, ignoring new professional research, using selective numbers and making apples and oranges comparisons to draw conclusions that misrepresent the facts," said Patricia Schroeder, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Publishers. Schroeder said there are two key factors PIRG needs to focus more upon when addressing higher education issues. "First, we must recognize the changing landscape of higher education that needs to be addressed today. Tuition and student fees have gone up at a much faster rate than textbooks. Graduation rates are dropping. Dropout rates are increasing. Fewer students are graduating in four years. In fact, studies show that, in several state university systems, as many as 50 percent of incoming freshmen are not prepared for college level math, reading or writing," Schroeder noted. "Second, professors and publishers are creating the tools, the textbooks and other instructional materials that are helping students improve their college success rates. Based on studies by Zogby International and others, we know these efforts are beginning to pay off," she added. Today, when students purchase their course materials, they are paying for an entire learning program that enhances the quality of their education." "Eighty-four percent of faculty believe their students cannot pass their classes without a textbook, and 75 percent require or recommend their students use supplementary books or digital materials in their classes," she said, referring to a nationwide survey of 1,029 faculty carried out last month by Zogby International. A Zogby press release on the survey findings can be accessed at http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=950. "PIRG knows, as we do, that faculty make the ultimate decisions on what textbooks and instructional materials are best for their students' education. Textbooks represent only a fraction of the overall cost of higher education. According to the College Board, the average student spends about $2.23 per class day on their textbooks. This equals about 6 cents of the educational dollar," she noted. "We want to work with PIRG. We've shared the Zogby research with PIRG. We have discussed with them the hundreds of choices for individual courses that faculty have to choose from, everything ranging from customized books to basic texts to fully loaded, highly illustrated textbooks packed with learning and study aids. These textbooks are supported by an extensive array of supplemental materials, such as study guides, lab manuals and digital media like CD-ROMs, online tutorials, self-assessments and digital libraries. These are 21st century tools used to prepare students to succeed in today's world," Schroeder said. Schroeder noted a study by the Center for Academic Transformation showed that students using electronic learning tools have seen marked progress in their test scores. At the University of Alabama, the passing rate for an intermediate algebra class doubled from 40 percent to 80 percent when the class was redesigned to rely heavily on supplemental materials, online practice exercises and interactive tutorials. "Professors are keenly aware of the investment their students are making and are doing all they can to provide a solid, world-class education for their students. Publishers are working with faculty to provide the gold standard of content that students deserve. Our goal is simple: success in school and in life," Schroeder said. The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP's approximately three hundred members include most of the major commercial book publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and nonprofit publishers, university presses, and scholarly societies. For information on the Association of American Publishers and research and data on textbooks and e-learning technology, please visit http://www.publishers.org/highered/index.cfm. Results of the Zogby study can be found there as well.
SOURCE Association of American Publishers