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ERIC Number: ED547807
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 311
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-1189-8
A Comparison of Massachusetts and Texas High School Biology Teachers' Attitudes towards the Teaching of Evolution
Howarth, Richard T.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is considered to be the unifying theory for all life sciences (American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS, 1990; National Academy of Sciences, 1998; National Research Council, NRC, 1996; National Science Teachers Association, NSTA, 2010a) and as such, the biology topic has been established as a central learning standard by the National Science Education Science Standards (NSES, 2005). The purpose of this study was to compare how Massachusetts and Texas high school biology teachers' attitudes toward the teaching of evolution differ as compared to other biology topics. Texas and Massachusetts are two states that exemplify standards based education yet differ dramatically in their histories surrounding the topic of evolution. A survey was conducted among 217 Massachusetts and 139 Texas in-service high school biology teachers to help provide a sense of the phenomena surrounding biology teachers in respect to how their attitudes towards the teaching of evolution are shaped. Additionally, an open-ended question was asked to help contextualize the results of the survey between teachers of these two states. The findings in this study suggest that community appears to be a powerful persuasive message and socialization experience that shapes the development of attitudes towards evolution for some educators, especially when it is highly intertwined with religion. For biology teachers in the state of Texas, the synergistic result of this relationship has resulted in statistically significant differences in regards to attitudes towards evolution as compared to teachers in Massachusetts. These findings yield implications regarding scientific literacy, student learning, assessment, the quality of science instruction, curriculum, undergraduate biology programs, and the needs of biology teachers in terms of professional development. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts; Texas