McLean v. Arkansas (1982) and Beyond: Implications for Biology Professors

Bland, Mark W.; Moore, Randy
May 2011
Journal of College Science Teaching;May/Jun2011, Vol. 40 Issue 5, p75
Academic Journal
To assess current trends of evolution instruction in high schools of the mid-South, we invited Arkansas high school biology teachers from across the state to respond to a survey designed to address this issue. We also asked students enrolled in a freshman-level, nonmajors biology course at a midsize public Arkansas university to recall their experiences regarding evolution instruction in their high school biology courses. To facilitate comparisons with data obtained in an upper midwestern state (Minnesota), we used similar surveys for the Arkansas study. Results of the surveys reveal noteworthy trends. For example, student recollections (N = 329) were distinctly different from teacher reports (N = 137): 23% of teachers indicated that they were teaching creationism, compared with 50% of students who recalled receiving instruction in creationism in their high school classes. Further, 38% of teacher respondents reportedly do not believe that teaching creationism is illegal. In general, the data obtained in Arkansas are similar to findings from Minnesota. Important implications for biology professors in light of other relevant research findings that reveal the impressionability of high school students are discussed.


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