Title

Measuring the Acceptance of Evolutionary Theory: A Profile of Science Majors in Texas 2-Year Colleges

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Date of Award

Summer 2015

Abstract

Evolutionary theory is the central unifying theory of the life sciences but acceptance and understanding of the theory have been found to be lacking in the general public, high school, and university populations. Low acceptance of the theory has been linked in previous research to a poor knowledge base in evolution, to the nature of science, and to conflicts with certain religious beliefs. The purpose of the study was to measure the acceptance rate of the theory of evolution among students enrolled in science major biology courses in Texas community colleges. Specifically, the study determined factors that influence high and low acceptance rates of the theory of evolution. This research seeks to begin to fill a gap in the knowledge base concerning acceptance of the theory of evolution for community colleges. To achieve the goal the researcher gave students at five community colleges located in the Northeast Texas region a combined survey consisting of; 20 Likert scale questions that measured the acceptance of evolutionary theory, 10 multiple choice questions that measured basic knowledge base of the theory, eight Likert scale questions that measured intrinsic religiosity, and a series of demographic questions that assessed previous experience in high school with evolutionary theory and creationism. Data collected were statistically analyzed using SPSS version 22 to discover the relationships between the various independent variables and the dependent variable of the acceptance level of the theory of evolution.

Advisor

Joyce A. Scott

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Higher Education

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