Acceptance, understanding, and experience: Exploring obstacles to evolution education among Advanced Placement teachers

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The American Biology Teacher





Students in the United States who wish to begin early enrollment in college-level coursework often turn to Advanced Placement (AP) secondary coursework such as AP Biology as an accelerated option. As such, it is expected that those teachers who are responsible for the AP Biology courses hold an advanced level of subject-area expertise that extends to topics that are often seen as controversial in K–12 classrooms, including evolution. We surveyed 71 AP Biology teachers in a state in the southeastern United States to see how their levels of evolution content knowledge, evolution acceptance, and understandings of the nature of science compared to results that have been found in similar studies in general biology teachers and preservice science teachers. Our results indicate that AP Biology teachers in the Southeast have understandings and levels of acceptance regarding evolution that are in line with or lower than those of fellow teachers. This suggests that in spite of the nationalized AP curriculum, there are still gaps in fundamental knowledge, understandings, and approach that need to be addressed.


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