Term of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

John Weaver

Committee Member 1

Amanda Glaze

Committee Member 2

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 3

Nancy Malcom

Committee Member 3 Email




The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions, experience, and thinking of teachers at three private schools in Middle Georgia to determine how different private schools approach the teaching of evolution. For this project three private schools were included representing a secular, non-religiously affiliated private school, a Catholic affiliated private school, and an independent, Christian private school. The research was designed to answer one research question and three sub-questions. The primary research question was: How do private schools of the Middle Georgia area teach the theory of evolution? The three sub-questions were (2) Does the type of private school affect the teaching of evolution in private schools of Middle Georgia? (3) Does teacher religiosity affect the teaching of evolution in private schools of Middle Georgia? (4) Does student religiosity affect the teaching of evolution in private schools of Middle Georgia? The project was organized in an embedded, multiple case study format. Each of the three private schools was examined independently before being compared to the other schools. In-person interviews were conducted with a total of twelve individuals from the three participating schools. Most of the interviews were conducted with high school science teachers, but school administrators and theology teachers were included where appropriate. The transcripts were coded and analyzed, looking for themes that were common among representatives of the school and then themes that presented across all three schools. The theoretical framework that guided this work was that of Worldview, and drew heavily upon the work of Cobern (1991 and 1996), Keaney (1989), and Hansson (2104). Examination of the worldview framework focused on participant religiosity and how the religiosity of the participants impacted their personal worldview. Additionally, the framework examined how personal worldview impacts how the theory of evolution was approached at the participating schools The results showed that the worldview of each participant did play a considerable role in how evolution was taught in that while evolution was being taught in all three private schools, the method differed considerably from classroom to classroom and school to school.

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Research Data and Supplementary Material