A specially designed questionnaire and a modification of the “Science Classroom Activity Checklist” by L. H. Krockendorfer were used to categorize 299 life science students at the University of Iowa into two groups; those with high school biology backgrounds founded in the BSCS philosophy and those with traditionally oriented backgrounds. These groups were compared with respect to grade achievement in a college life science course, ratings of their background for the college course, and their attitude toward biology as established by their high school experience. With respect to inquiry and student-centered methods, texts were revealed as poor indicators of types of programs offered.