Campus Access Only
All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of University of the Pacific. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.
Date of Award
Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Curriculum and Instruction
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Darwinian evolution is a robustly supported scientific theory. Yet creationists continue to challenge its teaching in American public schools. Biology teachers in all 50 states are responsible for teaching science content standards that include evolution. As products of their backgrounds and affiliations teachers bring personal attitudes and beliefs to their teaching. The purpose of this study was to explore how biology teachers perceive, describe, and value their teaching of evolution. This research question was explored through a heuristic qualitative methodology. Eight veteran California high school biology teachers were queried as to their beliefs, perceptions, experiences and practices of teaching evolution. Both personal and professional documents were collected. Data was presented in the form of biographical essays that highlight teachers' backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and practices of teaching evolution. Of special interest was how they describe pressure over teaching evolution during a decade of standards and No Child Left Behind high-stakes testing mandates. Five common themes emerged. Standards have increased the overall amount of evolution that is taught. High-stakes testing has decreased the depth at which evolution is taught. Teacher belief systems strongly influence how evolution is taught. Fear of creationist challenges effect evolution teaching strategies. And lastly, concern over the potential effects of teaching evolution on student worldviews was mixed. Three categories of teacher concern over the potential impact of evolution on student worldviews were identified: Concerned, Strategist, and Carefree. In the final analysis teacher beliefs and attitudes still appeared to he the most important factor influencing how evolution is taught.
Grimes, Larry G.. (2012). Teaching Evolution: A Heuristic Study of Personal and Cultural Dissonance. University of the Pacific, Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted. https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/uop_etds/23
To access this thesis/dissertation you must have a valid pacific.edu email address and log-in to Scholarly Commons.Find in PacificSearch Find in ProQuest
If you are the author and would like to grant permission to make your work openly accessible, please email