Elementary education majors’ views on evolution: A comparison of undergraduate majors understanding of natural selection and acceptance of evolution.
Elementary teachers play a crucial role in breaking the cycle of continued evolution controversy. They have the capacity to introduce concepts at the same time students may first encounter anti-evolution messages. This study compares elementary education majors’ religiosity, acceptance and understanding of evolution to other majors. Results indicate that elementary education majors maintain a high level of religiosity and a significantly lower acceptance as compared to other majors not tasked with teaching evolution in America’s public schools. Elementary education majors maintained levels of understanding of evolution that were not significantly higher than those not planning on teaching elementary students. Rasch analysis indicates that some elementary education majors do maintain high levels of acceptance and understanding of evolution and this particular subset of elementary teachers may be a promising way to increase evolution understanding among K-5 students.