Systematic review of the state of research in measuring acceptance of evolution and knowledge about evolution across Europe
Paul Kuschmierz, Andra Meneganzin, Rianne Pinxten, Telmo Pievani, Dragana Cvetković, Evangelia Mavrikaki, Dittmar Graf & Anna Beniermann
Relatively little is known regarding the level of acceptance of evolution and knowledge about evolution in Europe. The aim of WG1 within EuroScitizen is to investigate these topics further through the use of large comparative cross-country studies. As a groundwork for this research, WG1 performed a systematic literature review on the state of measuring acceptance of evolution as well as knowledge about evolution in European countries (Deliverable 1).
We identified 56 papers for the period 2010-2020 that presented results about evolution acceptance and/or knowledge for 29 European countries. In 17 studies both knowledge and acceptance of evolution were assessed. Thirty-six different instruments were identified of which 19 were used in studies on knowledge and 17 in studies on acceptance. Due to the application of different instruments and assessment of different key concepts, the extent of knowledge was difficult to compare, even within groups of similar education levels.
Results illustrate the persistence of misconceptions through all education levels. Acceptance of evolution among different education levels and countries was highly diverse. In some countries, a lack of evolutionary concepts in curricula tended to be associated with rejection of evolution. The presented review highlights the lack of standardized assessment tools across Europe and, as a result, of reasonably comparable data. The review also revealed that only one third of all identified studies provided evidence for local validity and reliability. We emphasize the need of prospective comparative research based on similar samples to overcome current inconsistencies in results.
This review article was now published open access in the peer-reviewed journal Evolution: Education & Outreach: https://evolution-outreach.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12052-020-00132-w
Kuschmierz, P., Meneganzin, A., Pinxten, R., Pievani, T., Cvetković, D., Mavrikaki, E., Graf, D. & Beniermann, A. (2020). Towards common ground in measuring acceptance of evolution and knowledge about evolution across Europe: a systematic review of the state of research. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 13(1), 1-24.