Perceptions of college students on the theory of *evolution

Rosalind S Holloway, Tennessee State University


Although the Darwinian Theory of Evolution is a well accepted concept among the scientific community, the controversy remains in the culture and consequently the educational system. Studies have suggested that students enroll in college with various misconceptions of evolution. The misunderstanding of evolution may be caused by two main factors: (1) belief that evolution contradicts the Bible and goes against faith and (2) a lack of understanding of the nature of science (Ladine, 2009). The often quoted Dobzhansky is known for the statement "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." Curriculum designers have acknowledged this anthem and are interested in creating the most effective curriculum that encompasses evolution as a unifying theme. It is imperative that educational structures are established to bridge students' beliefs and science. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively examine students' perception about evolution in relationship to epistemological beliefs, major, gender, attitude towards science and their perceptions toward the limits of science. In addition, methodology was created to explore how college students' views were influenced by the type of high school biology classes taken prior to entering college. This study described how 236 undergraduates enrolled in introductory biology classes at TSU viewed the different concepts of evolution. The results of the survey suggested that the total population of students in this study moderately accepted evolution. Those students who had creationism taught in high school indicated that they were most resistant to accepting evolution. The results suggested that students’ personal beliefs should not be ignored or underestimated when teaching the theory of evolution.

Subject Area

Evolution and Development|Science education|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Rosalind S Holloway, "Perceptions of college students on the theory of *evolution" (2010). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3413692.