Knowledge and Acceptance of Evolutionary Theory among Students Pursuing a Masters of Science Education Degree

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  • 1. Knowledge and Acceptance of Evolutionary Theory among Students Pursuing a Masters of Science Education Degree David Allan, DPM
  • 2. Charles Darwin
    • 1859: Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection is published
    • A debate began between the scientific community which generally supports the Theory of evolution and religious groups who believe in a special creation by a supreme being.
  • 3. Theodisius Dobzhansky (1973)
    • “ Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”
  • 4. Why is this issue important?
    • Evolution is the unifying concept in the life sciences
    • Students may leave high school unprepared for the more rigorous science curriculum
  • 5. Are students prepared for the more rigorous college science curriculum?
    • Studies enrolling high school students are rare
    • I encountered difficulty in obtaining permission to conduct research in public high schools
  • 6. Gender of Participants
  • 7. Level of Education of Participants
  • 8. Age of Participants
  • 9. School Setting of Participants
  • 10. Ethnicity of Participants
  • 11. Questions regarding knowledge of evolution theory
    • Average: 88.9% correct responses
    • Range: 33.3 (66.7% to 100%)
    • Mean: 88.9%
  • 12. Attitudes toward evolution theory
    • All participants indicated that they learned about evolution theory in school.
    • All participants indicated that they believe evolution theory is true.
    • All participants indicated that evolution theory does not conflict with what they have learned outside of school
  • 13. Question 2
    • 2. According to modern evolutionary theory, new traits that help a species survive in a particular environment will generally
    • a. increase in frequency
    • b. decrease in frequency
    • c. not change in frequency
    • d. increase and decrease unpredictably in frequency
  • 14. Question 2
  • 15. Limitations
    • Small sample size
    • Sample is not random
  • 16. Future Research
    • Drop or modify Question 2
    • Ask teachers their area of concentration
    • Conduct research enrolling high school students