The case for teaching the theory of evolution in the Tennessee public high school curriculum

Joseph Scott Hardin, Tennessee State University

Abstract

There has, for many years, been an ongoing debate and struggle between views expressed by science and religion, particularly over the teaching of evolution and creation. The purpose of this study was to determine the amount of emphasis provided to the topic of evolution in the Tennessee state Biology I curriculum as perceived by 103 supervisors of secondary instruction within the state. The research was descriptive in nature and designed to test three research questions: Do these supervisors perceive adequate emphasis on evolution by the state's curriculum? Is there a difference in the number of those supervisors perceiving adequate and inadequate emphasis? Do they perceive that the curriculum allows for the introduction of religious doctrines? Data gathered from surveys distributed to the supervisors of secondary instruction in Tennessee tested three null hypotheses derived from the three research questions. Data for each hypothesis was evaluated with descriptive statistics and the data for Hypothesis 1 was determined to not have a normal distribution; therefore, a Mann-Whitney U test was performed to test the hypothesis. Determination was made that the null hypothesis should be retained indicating that there is not a significant number of supervisors perceiving inadequate emphasis on evolution. Hypothesis 2 data was a normal distribution and was tested with an unpaired t test. The null hypothesis was rejected indicating that there is a significant difference in supervisors perceiving adequate and inadequate emphasis on evolution. Hypothesis 3 data is a normal distribution and was tested with a one-sample t test. This null was rejected indicating there is a significant difference between the number of supervisors perceiving an allowance for religious doctrines and those who do not. It is concluded that most supervisors perceive that Tennessee's current Biology I curriculum is adequate in reference to evolution. Furthermore, most of those surveyed indicated a perception that the curriculum does not make allowances for the introduction of religion. Recommendations go to educators and entities responsible for generating and presenting state curricula. Every effort should be made not to conflict or contradict the United States Constitution. ^

Subject Area

Education, Sciences

Recommended Citation

Joseph Scott Hardin, "The case for teaching the theory of evolution in the Tennessee public high school curriculum" (2003). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3116148.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI3116148

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