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Complete School is an educational product aimed at secondary or high school students studying Mathematics or English. It is the third title by Australian educational self-publisher Michael Milford and was first released in May 2006 around Australia.
Like the previous two titles by the publisher, Complete School is aimed at the secondary or high school market. However it is broader in scope and contains material aimed at younger secondary school students as well as the older students, unlike previous titles which have focussed only on the older students. It also attempts to cover both the English and Mathematics high school subjects.
The Complete School package is made up of two major components - textbooks and a DVD, although it also contains an A2 poster. Each textbook is just under 600 pages and contains text and grayscale illustrations. The DVD contains 16 video tutorials making up just over two hours of video. The poster is grayscale and contains text and illustrations.
The foundation for Complete School was established in 2000 with the publication of the book Not a C Minus: A Guide to Surviving Mathematics B. This book featured "a conversational style" and was intended as a supplement study aide to the conventional school mathematics textbooks . With some media coverage but no paid advertising the book went on to sell a little over 4000 copies around Australia and internationally over the next 3 years.
Not a C Minus was followed by Painless Physics, which was intended as a study aide for high school students of Physics. It has sold a little over 1000 copies around Australia since its release in mid-2002.
The positive public response from students for these two titles led to the commencement of the Complete School project in 2004. After a two-year development period it entered production in March 2006. After two months of production it entered the Australian marketplace on May 16.
The educational style in Complete School (and the previous two titles) differs from that found in a conventional textbook in several ways. The text is generally more conversational and colloquial than a standard textbook. This has both advantages and disadvantages; students may feel more comfortable due to the style but the lack of orthodox language and terms may restrict a student's ability to function in more formal environments.
The package also has relatively few questions. Compared to normal Mathematics textbooks which may have several dozen if not hundreds of questions per topic, Complete School only has one or two. These questions are more akin to the fully worked examples in conventional textbooks than the numbered lists of questions usually found at the end of a topic. This structure means there is a lack of questions for students to practice on, but does allow a lot more content to be fit into one product.
The topics covered in Complete School are more controversial than those found in a standard textbook. These topics include several types of gambling, nuclear weapons, and subtle manipulation techniques, which some parents may find objectionable. The author reasons that they are practical real-life examples or skills.
Complete School also covers several non-traditional textbook topics such as Internet research, exam technique, and word processing software, although these topics are mostly covered on the video DVD.
Production and Economics
Complete School was produced through the Chinese printing company Everbest in early 2006. The initial production run comprised 1000 units. The product was produced in China because of the significantly cheaper labour and material costs available in that country compared to in the United States or Australia. This introduced additional steps into the production process including content clearance with the Chinese government and international freight.
The package's current recommended retail price is $79.95. Standard Australian single textbooks typically cost around $60.