High School Biology Textbooks: A Benchmarks-Based Evaluation

Project 2061 Analysis Procedure


The Project 2061 curriculum-materials analysis procedure was developed over several years with funding from the National Science Foundation and in consultation with hundreds of K–12 teachers, materials developers, scientists, teacher educators, and cognitive researchers nationwide. The procedure's instructional analysis criteria and indicators are based on existing research on student learning (Kesidou & Roseman, 2002). When used by skilled reviewers, the procedure has been shown to be highly reliable (Kulm & Grier, 1998).

Using the procedure, the reviewers analyzed how completely the content of each high school biology textbook aligns with key ideas in four topics: Cell Structure and Function, Matter and Energy Transformations, Molecular Basis of Heredity, and Natural Selection and Evolution. To judge each textbook's content coherence, the reviewers also looked for whether explicit connections are made among ideas. The reviewers then examined how well the instructional strategies of the biology textbooks support student learning of these four coherent sets of ideas.

The information in this section provides more detail about how the reviewers used the analysis procedure to perform the content and instructional analyses. See Background Reading for articles that discuss further the Project 2061 analysis procedure, including the research base for the procedure’s instructional analysis criteria and indicators.