WG1 Assessment

Working Group 1 focuses on “Assessment of attitudes towards evolution and knowledge about evolutionary processes and concepts across Europe” by designing and benchmarking effective methods of gauging the understanding and acceptance of evolution and their relationship, especially in the context of overall scientific literacy. This objective involves both the conceptual review and development of survey and statistical tools, and the proper processing of the resulting data (its transformation, visualization and dissemination). The working group consists of researchers from 28 European countries.

The project aims to close a gap in the European research on knowledge about evolution and attitudes towards evolution. Based on a standardized review of the state of research on evolution acceptance and knowledge in Europe, we demonstrated that to date, clear, comprehensive and comparable data on attitudes and knowledge about evolution is missing in many European countries (see overview in Kuschmierz et al., 2020).

To generate directly comparable data, the comprehensive Evolution Education Questionnaire on Acceptance and Knowledge (EEQ; Beniermann et al., 2021) was published open access along with a method report regarding development and application of the questionnaire, validity aspects and analysis and interpretation of results.

The remaining aim of the project is to investigate the knowledge about evolution and attitudes towards evolution of students who have just enrolled in a university. These students have just recently completed upper secondary education and have been granted higher education entrance qualification. The results will allow insights in attitudes towards evolution and knowledge about evolution of European freshmen students directly after finishing secondary education. For this purpose, we surveyed more than 10,000 first-year university students in 26 European countries (see Fig. 1; Kuschmierz et al., 2021).

Overall and grand period goals and their status

Working Group 1 addresses four major tasks and deliverables that are the core of our grand period goals:

In the table below the goals of Working Group 1 (WG1) for the current grand period (GP3) as well as their status and how they relate to Action objectives and WG1 deliverables are displayed [status as of March 2021]:

Upcoming Meetings and Opportunities

The next face-to-face meeting is postponed until the situation is more predictable. We meet regularly in small groups, when working on the single tasks and deliverables.

Working Group 1 offers two Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM) to address grand period goals 5 (further analyses of the data set) and 6 (further studies and funding possibilities). These STSM are especially interesting for researchers that want to lead the writing process of additional publications and/or funding proposals. If you are interested in hosting a STSM in 2021 or apply for a STSM on these topics in 2021, please contact WG1 leaders.

Current Work

In the second quarter of 2021 we will…

  • … work further on the manuscript about the overall results (Grant Period Goal 3, deliverable 3) as soon as the peer review is finished.
  • … collaborate with WG3 on a workshop concerning assessment methods for non-formal activities.
  • … advance in Grand Period Goals 5 and 6 through STSMs or group work.
  • … start planning the visual summary of existing and future data in a publicly accessible way (deliverable 4)


Publications of WG1

Deliverable 1:

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.


Deliverable 2:

Beniermann, A., Kuschmierz, P., Pinxten, R. Aivelo, T., Bohlin, G., Brennecke, J. S., Cebesoy, U. B., Cvetković, D., Đorđević, M., Dvořáková, R. M., Futo, M., Geamana, N., Korfiatis, Κ., Lendvai, A., Mogias, A., Paolucci, S., Petersson, M., Pietrzak, B, Porozovs, J., Realdon, G., Savković, U., Sofonea, M. T., Šorgo, A., Stermin, A. N., Torkar, G., Uitto, A., Vázquez-Ben, L., & Graf, D. (2021, February 22). Evolution Education Questionnaire on Acceptance and Knowledge (EEQ) – Standardised and ready-to-use protocols to measure acceptance of evolution and knowledge about evolution in an international context. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4554742

Deliverable 3:

Kuschmierz, P., Beniermann, A., Bergmann, A., Pinxten, R., Aivelo, T., Berniak-Woźny, J., Bohlin, G., Bugallo-Rodriguez, A., Cardia, P., Cavadas, B. F. B. P., Cebesoy, U. B., Cvetković, D. D., Demarsy, E., Đorđević, M. S., Drobniak, S. M., Dubchak, L., Dvořáková, R. M., Fančovičová, J., Fortin, C., … & Graf., D. (2021). European first-year university students accept evolution but lack substantial knowledge about it: a standardized European cross-country assessment. Manuscript submitted for publication.

For more information and to join this Working Group please contact:

Dr. Anna Beniermann
Dr. Anna Beniermann

WG Leader
Humboldt University of Berlin
Postdoc (Teaching and Learning Research in Biology Education)

Prof. Dr. Rianne Pinxten
Prof. Dr. Rianne Pinxten

WG Vice-leader
University of Antwerp
Professor (Didactics of Biology)

Paul Kuschmierz
Paul Kuschmierz

Active Contributor (Principal Investigator)
Justus Liebig University of Giessen
PhD student (Institute for Didactics of Biology)