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Abstract

Previous literature has documented how teachers perceive both advantages and disadvantages associated with standards-based reform. These teacher perceptions may be connected to classroom practices in terms of the extent to which standards are utilized by individual teachers. The purpose of this study was to identify how secondary science teachers characterize state science standards, modify their curricula on the basis of standards, and view the impacts of standards on students and teachers in their schools. Twenty-two science teachers from five purposefully selected school districts were interviewed using a protocol targeting attitudes toward standards and accountability, ways teachers use standards to develop and modify curricula, impacts of standards on students and teachers, and utilization of standards-based resources and professional development. An inductive approach was used to analyze data and produced both common views of science standards held by many teachers and profiles that characterize subgroups of teachers. Participants described both positive and negative aspects of standards-based accountability, and roughly half of the teachers described modifying their curricula according to standards. Teachers were categorized into six different profiles: negative perspectives, game of testing, already doing it, part of the cycle, reality of teaching, and useful tools. Suggestions for different approaches to professional development are elaborated for teachers of these various profiles. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed93:1050–1075, 2009