Secondary school students’ reasoning about evolution

Article English OPEN
To, Cheryl ; Tenenbaum, Harriet R. ; Hogh, Henriette (2016)

This study examined age differences in young people’s understanding of evolution theory in secondary school. A second aim of this study was to propose a new coding scheme that more accurately described students’ conceptual understanding about evolutionary theory. We argue that coding schemes adopted in previous research may have overestimated students’ grasp of evolutionary concepts.Atotal of 106 students aged 12, 14, and 16 took part in individual interviews investigating their understanding of evolution. Using the newcoding scheme, wefound that while 16-year olds were more likely than 12-year olds to endorse scientific concepts when answering a question about finches, their understanding of natural selection, however, did not generalize to the other four questions. Furthermore, students began to incorporate relevant terminology (e.g., adapt, evolve, etc.) and structure their explanations using relevant language at around age 14. Students often used relevant terminology without having a more advanced understanding of evolutionary theory. Instead, they used the relevant terms in a colloquial rather than a scientific sense. Implications of the current findings for teaching and theory are discussed.
  • References (61)
    61 references, page 1 of 7

    Abraham-Silver, L., & Kisiel, J. (2008). Comparing visitors' conceptions of evolution: Examining understanding outside the United States. Visitor Studies, 11, 41-54. doi: 10.1080/10645570801938434

    Alters, B. J., & Nelson, C. E. (2002). Perspective: Teaching evolutionQ23 in higher education. Evolution, S 56, 1891-1901. doi: 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2002.tb00115.x

    Anderson, D. L., Fisher, K. M., & Norman, G. J. (2002). Development and evaluation of the conceptual F inventory of natural selection. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39, 952-978. doi: 10.1002/tea/ 10053 O

    Asghar, A., Wiles, J. R., & Alters, B. (2007). Canadian pre-service elementary teachers' conceptions of biological evolution and evolution education. McGill Journal of Education, 42, 189-208. doi: O10.1007/ s11165-010-9193-2

    Atran, S., Estin, P., Coley, J., & Medin, D. (1997). Generic species and basic levels: REssence and sites/default/files/pdfs/JoE/17-1/Atranetal1997.pdf P appearance in folkbiology. Journal of Ethnobiology, 17, 17-43. Retrieved from: https://ethnobiology.org/

    Atran, S., Medin, D., Lynch, E., Vapnarsky, V., Ek', E. U., & Sousa, P. (2001). Folkbiology doesn't come from folkpsychology: Evidence from Yukatek Maya in cross-cultural perspectiDve.Journal of Cognition and Culture, 1, 3-42. doi: 10.1163/156853701300063561

    Atran, S., Medin, D., & Ross, N. (2004). Evolution and devolution of kEnowledge: A tale of two biologies.

    T Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 10, 395-420. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9655.2004.00195.x

    Bakeman, R., & Gottman, J. M. (1997). Observing interaction: An introduction to sequential analysis. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. C

    Banet, E., & Ayuso, G. E. (2003). Teaching of biological inheritance and evolution of living beings in secondary school. International Journal of ScienEceEducation, 25, 373-407. doi: 10.1080/ 09500690210145716

  • Metrics
    No metrics available
Share - Bookmark