Research in Science Education

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 165–179

Exploring Relations Among Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Ideas About Evolution, Understanding of Relevant Science Concepts, and College Science Coursework


DOI: 10.1007/s11165-010-9193-2

Cite this article as:
Rice, D.C. & Kaya, S. Res Sci Educ (2012) 42: 165. doi:10.1007/s11165-010-9193-2


This study investigated the relations among preservice elementary teachers’ ideas about evolution, their understanding of basic science concepts and college science coursework. Forty-two percent of 240 participants did not accept the theory of human evolution, but held inconsistent ideas about related topics, such as co-existence of humans and dinosaurs and plate tectonics. Accepting the theory of evolution was positively correlated with correctly answering the three other questions related to the age of Earth. Furthermore, participants who rejected evolution scored significantly lower on a test of basic science concepts than did participants who held accurate views on human evolution. Study results revealed no apparent association between completion of advanced college science courses and acceptance of evolutionary theory or understanding of science concepts. Implications for elementary science teacher education were discussed.


EvolutionScientific understandingPerservice teachersCollege science coursework

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida State UniversitySchool of Teacher EducationTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Kocaeli University, Umuttepe Campus, College of EducationDepartment of Elementary EducationKocaeliTurkey