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Secondary School Students’ Reasoning About Evolution

To, Cheryl, Tenenbaum, Harriet and Hogh, H (2016) Secondary School Students’ Reasoning About Evolution Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 54 (2). pp. 247-273.

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Psychology
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
To, Cherylcheryl.to@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Tenenbaum, Harrieth.tenenbaum@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Hogh, HUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 7 September 2016
Identification Number : 10.1002/tea.21347
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Research in Science Teaching published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of National Association for Research in Science Teaching. J Res Sci Teach 54: 247–273, 2017. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivsLicense, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Uncontrolled Keywords : understanding evolution; cognitive development; secondary school
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 01 Feb 2017 14:59
Last Modified : 19 Jul 2017 09:36
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/813428

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