Educational Research and Policy
Updates on legal challenges to state evolution standards, brief summaries, state by state, of political and legal activities regarding evolution standards.
Evolution in State Science Education Standards (Research Brief from Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, November 2005)
"This report describes the results of a systematic analysis of state science education standards conducted by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center in conjunction with Education Week . We obtained information on the science education standards in 41 states from an extensive electronic database and devised a rigorous study methodology for analyzing the evolution content of those standards. In so doing, we were able to determine the extent to which the science standards in each state aligned with the treatment of evolutionary theory outlined in one influential and widely respected national standards document " National Science Education Standards , published by the National Research Council in 1996."
This report by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation analyzes the status of evolution standards in the United States, examining whether the standards are strong, if evolution is avoided, or if science in general is weak in each state.
Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial DVD and Course
In this program, NOVA captures the turmoil that tore apart the community of Dover, Pennsylvania in one of the latest battles over teaching evolution in public schools. Featuring trial reenactments based on court transcripts and interviews with key participants, including expert scientists and Dover parents, teachers, and town officials, "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" follows the celebrated federal case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District. This two-hour special was coproduced with Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Productions, Inc. Click here to watch the program. NOVA has also developed a course "Teaching Evolution in 21st Century America". The course is set up for self or group study and a for credit version is also available.
This book from the National Academy of Science explains the importance of teaching evolution and the nature of science. It also covers the national standards, discusses common questions about evolution and provides examples of teaching evolution using inquiry.
"Science education in America is under attack, with "discovery learning" on one flank and the Discovery Institute on the other. That's the core finding of our just-released comprehensive review of state science standards, the first since 2000. Written by pre-eminent biologist Paul R. Gross, The State of State Science Standards finds that even though the majority of states have reworked, or crafted from scratch, their science standards over the past five years, we're no better off now than before. That's the bad news. The good news is that many of the standards are easily fixed. More involvement by bench scientists, and better editing, could greatly improve what's out there. Plus, there are a number of excellent models to follow (California, Massachusetts, and South Carolina, for example). The public's anxiety about the future of our nation's scientific prowess is palpable"and reasonable. How serious are we in addressing their concerns? To find out, read the report."
"What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to create and support such experiences?" From AAAS.
The national standards for evolution (grades 9-12):
- Species evolve over time. Evolution is the consequence of the interactions of (1) the potential for a species to increase its numbers, (2) the genetic variability of offspring due to mutation and recombination of genes, (3) a finite supply of the resources required for life, and (4) the ensuing selection by the environment of those offspring better able to survive and leave offspring. [See Unifying Concepts and Processes]
- The great diversity of organisms is the result of more than 3.5 billion years of evolution that has filled every available niche with life forms.
- Natural selection and its evolutionary consequences provide a scientific explanation for the fossil record of ancient life forms, as well as for the striking molecular similarities observed among the diverse species of living organisms.
- The millions of different species of plants, animals, and microorganisms that live on earth today are related by descent from common ancestors.
- Biological classifications are based on how organisms are related. Organisms are classified into a hierarchy of groups and subgroups based on similarities which reflect their evolutionary relationships. Species is the most fundamental unit of classification.
A list of each states evolution education standard.