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Owston, Ronald D.

Scarborough (Ont.), Prentice-Hall, c1987. 81pp, paper, spiral bound. $8.95, ISBN 0-13-821620-7. CIP

Reviewed by William F. Benson

Volume 15 Number 2
1987 March

Ronald D. Owston's book, Soffn-are Evaluation, points out the major problems in the software field today-mainly the incredibly poor quality of the majority of educational software on the market, Owston's solution to this problem is to introduce and promote a software evaluation method titled YESES (York Educational Software Evaluation Scales).

The method he suggests is adequate, competent, and will work for what it is designed to do. If you are in an isolated situation, or simply want a pocket rule-of-thumb method to judge software, you could do worse than study his method. If you are seriously concerned with software evaluation, then this is a book you can easily ignore.

The book presents the material in a simplistic, repetitive manner that alternatively bores and repels the reader. Too many pages are spent on an unnecessary discussion of the theory and history of evaluation. Important possibly, but not needed in such a short book. It would appear that the material started out as a paper of some description and was padded to sufficient length to justify producing it as a book. Some of the ideas, such as the formation of panels to share opinions about software, are excellent. But to spend nine dollars to find this out seems slightly spendthrift. It would be far better to use your money to subscribe to British Columbia's PEMC (Provincial Educational Media Center) evaluation series and from that decide what software to have a further personal look at. In summary, a potentially good idea, inadequately presented and developed.

William F. Benson, Alexander Park School, Golden, B.C.
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