What Conceptions do Greek School Students Form about Biological Evolution?

TitleWhat Conceptions do Greek School Students Form about Biological Evolution?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsPrinou, L, Halkia, K, Skordoulis, CD
Journal TitleEvolution: Education and Outreach
Start Page312
Date Published07/2008
Type of ArticleCurriculum/Education Article

In Greece, since 2000, the teaching of evolutionary theory is restricted solely to lower (junior) high school and specifically to ninth grade. Even though the theory of evolution is included to the 12th grade biology textbook, it is not taught in Greek upper (senior) high schools. This study presents research conducted on the conceptions of Greek students regarding issues set out in the theory of evolution after the formal completion of the teaching of the theory. The sample comprised 411 10th grade students from 12 different schools. The research results show that the students appear to have a positive view of the idea of evolution, the evolution of man, and the common origin of organisms. However, they have retained many alternative views, or else they are completely in ignorance of basic issues in evolutionary theory regarding: what is considered evolution in biology, the main mechanism of evolutionary changes in what is considered natural selection, what the theory of evolution actually explains, and what the word theory means in science. At least in Greece, these views still prevail because the theory of evolution is marginalized in the teaching of biology in Greek schools, and biology education does not help students formulate overall conceptual structures to enable them to understand the question of biological change.