Dataset for "Teaching genetics prior to teaching evolution improves evolution understanding but not acceptance"

Dataset for "Teaching genetics prior to teaching evolution improves evolution understanding but not acceptance"

What is the best way to teach evolution? We hypothesised that if students know the fundamental concepts of genetics, then this might help them understand evolution better. To evaluate this, we performed a large trial in which pupils in United Kingdom secondary schools were either taught genetics and then evolution or evolution and then genetics. We found that the students being taught genetics first had a 5%–10% improvement in their understanding of evolution, above that shown in the group taught evolution first. The change was seen in both higher- and foundation-ability classes. Indeed, in the foundation classes the genetics-first approach was the only approach that enabled an increase in evolution understanding. Teaching genetics first comes at no cost to genetics understanding (and may even improve it). However, the genetics-first approach was no different from the evolution-first approach in helping the acceptance of evolution. Qualitative follow-up studies indicated a major role for authority figures in determining acceptance, potentially explaining the weak correlation between understanding and acceptance. These results suggest a simple, minimally disruptive, zero-cost intervention to improve evolution understanding: teach genetics first.

Cite this dataset as:
Mead, R., Hejmadi, M., Hurst, L., 2017. Dataset for "Teaching genetics prior to teaching evolution improves evolution understanding but not acceptance". PLOS. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2002255.

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Creators

Rebecca Mead
University of Bath

Momna Hejmadi
University of Bath

Laurence Hurst
University of Bath

Documentation

Data collection method:

Methods and documentation can be found in the associated article.

Funders

The Evolution Education Trust

Donation - The Teaching Evolution and Genetics Research Project

Publication details

Publication date: 2017
by: PLOS

Version: 1

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2002255

URL for this record: https://researchdata.bath.ac.uk/id/eprint/368

Related articles

Mead, R. and Hejmadi, M. and Hurst, L. D., 2017. Teaching genetics prior to teaching evolution improves evolution understanding but not acceptance. PLOS Biology, 15(5), p.e2002255. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2002255.

Contact information

Please contact the Research Data Service in the first instance for all matters concerning this item.

Contact person: Rebecca Mead

Departments:

Faculty of Science
Biology & Biochemistry

Faculties and Schools
School of Management