• biology;
  • textbooks;
  • teacher education-practicing teachers;
  • teacher cognition;
  • secondary


Reform efforts have emphasized the need to support teachers' learning about reform-oriented practices. Educative curriculum materials are one potential vehicle for promoting teacher learning about these practices. Educative curriculum materials include supports that are intended to promote both student and teacher learning. However, little is known about the extent to which existing curriculum materials provide support for teachers and the ways they can be improved. In this study, eight sets of high school biology curriculum materials were reviewed to determine their potential for promoting teacher learning. Design heuristics for educative curriculum materials were adapted for use as evaluation criteria. From this analysis, several themes emerged. First, the materials tended to provide support for teachers' subject matter knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge for students' ideas (e.g., misconceptions) but rarely for their pedagogical content knowledge of scientific inquiry. Second, the materials contained several implementation guidance supports but far fewer rationales for instructional decisions, which are an important feature of educative curriculum materials. Finally, the quality of support varied widely, differing in its degree of relevance, pedagogical helpfulness, and depth. The article concludes with recommendations for the redesign of existing curriculum materials. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 977–998, 2009