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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Evolution acceptance among pre-service primary teachers

Shagufta Arthur

Author Affiliations

University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

Evolution: Education and Outreach 2013, 6:20  doi:10.1186/1936-6434-6-20

Published: 13 June 2013



The purpose of this study was to investigate evolution acceptance among pre-service primary teachers who opted to study biology (n=35). In this part of their teacher training course they were introduced to the theory of evolution. The study focused on (a) finding out the various degrees of evolution acceptance, (b) reasons behind these choices, (c) views on the origin and biodiversity of life and (d) the perceived impacts of evolution acceptance.


A self-administered survey questionnaire was used which included Likert based items as well as open-ended questions.


In-between positions of evolution acceptance were identified as a fresh contribution to evolution education research. Non-acceptance of evolution was not found in this sample. Students’ acceptance of the theory of evolution was identified falling into categories such as strong, reserved and partial-acceptance. Various reasons underlying the students’ choices were identified. Six positions on the origin and biodiversity of life were identified in the sample. The atheistic-evolution position was well represented but the modal category was agnostic-evolution; creationists and the other in-between positions were minimally represented. The impacts of evolution acceptance, experienced and perceived, at personal and social level were also identified. The factors which might influence participants’ decision making on the theory of evolution were also assembled from participants’ responses and previous research.


The educational implication for this study both for the science educators and teachers is to be aware of the positions of their students on evolution acceptance and be prepared to offer educational assistance.

Evolution acceptance; Religion; Origin and biodiversity of life; Creationism; Science education