Evaluating the current state of evolution acceptance instruments: a research coordination network meeting report

M. Elizabeth Barnes, Rahmi Q. Aini, James P. Collins, Ryan D.P. Dunk, Emily A. Holt, Jamie Jensen, Joanna R. Klein, Taya Misheva, Louis S. Nadelson, Michael J. Reiss, William L. Romine, Andrew Shtulman, Amanda L. Townley, Jason R. Wiles, Yi Zheng, Sara E. Brownell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Hundreds of studies have explored student evolution acceptance because evolution is a core concept of biology that many undergraduate biology students struggle to accept. However, this construct of “evolution acceptance” has been defined and measured in various ways, which has led to inconsistencies across studies and difficulties in comparing results from different studies. Many studies and essays have offered evaluations and perspectives of evolution acceptance instruments, but publications with a focus on consensus building across research teams is still needed. Further, little attention has been paid to how evolution acceptance instruments may be interpreted differently by students with varied religious backgrounds. Funded by a Research Coordination Network in Undergraduate Biology Education grant from the National Science Foundation, we gathered 16 experts from different disciplinary and religious backgrounds to review current evolution acceptance instruments and create a guide to the strengths and weaknesses of these instruments, including appropriate contexts for using these instruments and their potential weaknesses with different religious populations. Finally, in an attempt to move the field forward, we articulated a consensus definition of evolution acceptance that can be used to guide future instrument development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalEvolution: Education and Outreach
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Education


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