New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Occurrence and Representation of Evolution in Austrian Biology Textbooks

Martin Scheuch, University College for Agricultural and Environmental Education (Austria)

Martin Wäger, University of Vienna (Austria)

Abstract

Evolution is the central theory of biology; therefore it should be used as a guiding idea in biology school textbooks to construct cumulative learning pathways for the students. To test this assumption, 17 biology textbook series (mostly in their entirety: n=63) which are approved for use in lower and upper secondary education (for students from 10 to 18 years) in Austria were analysed. For that purpose, a set of categories, including some of the most important concepts and mechanisms of evolution was developed: e.g. adaptation, natural/artificial/sexual selection, population. In a second step the occurrence of these concepts was quantified to enable comparisons between the textbooks of one single grade and the whole textbook series.
One exemplary result is that in lower secondary textbooks the term ´adaptation´ is the most common; this term was found in evolutionary context on 421 pages as well as without evolutionary context on 143 pages (14 series & 52 textbooks). Therefore it is assumed, that students may be confused by this indifferent use of the same term. A second result is the nearly complete absence of ´population´ in lower secondary textbooks, only found on 16 pages without definition (14 series & 52 textbooks). The problem with this finding is that evolution cannot be understood without population thinking; therefore a key concept is missing! Only in upper secondary textbooks (5 series & 15 textbooks) the term ´population´ can be found on 127 pages with an increasing frequency from grade 9 (8 pages) to grade 12 (75 pages). This example reflects a general problem in Austria. This is not only the fault of the textbooks but is rooted in the state curriculum where evolution is only mentioned in grade 7 and 12. Therefore the textbooks already compensate parts of this deficiency in including concepts in other grades, but on the other hand also fail to build up consistent learning pathways either. Therefore, evolution is treated more as an isolated subject instead of being seen as a superordinate idea.
On our poster we are going into more detail and discuss possible implications for biology education and textbook development.
 

Keywords: Evolution, Biology textbook analysis, Austria, state curriculum, cumulative learning;

References

[1] Woodward, A., Elliott, D.L. “Textbook Use and Teacher Professionalism”, Textbook and Schooling in the United States (Elliott, D.L., Woodward, A. Eds.), Chicago, National Society for the Study of Education, 1989, 14-17
[2] Skoog, G. “Topic of evolution in secondary school biology textbooks: 1900-1977”. Science Education, 63(5), 1979, 621-640
[3] Swarts, F. A., Roger Anderson, O., & Swetz, F. J. “Evolution in secondary school biology textbooks of the PRC, the USA, and the latter stages of the USSR”, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 31(5), 1994, 475-505
[4] Aleixandre, M. P. J. “Teaching evolution and natural selection: a look at textbooks and teachers” Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 31(5), 1994, 519-535
[5] Moody, D. E. “Evolution and the textbook structure of biology”, Science Education, 80(4), 1996, 395-418
[6] Nehm, R. H., Poole, T. M., Lyford, M. E., Hoskins, S. G., Carruth, L., & Ewers, B. E. “Does the segregation of evolution in biology textbooks and introductory courses reinforce students' faulty mental models of biology and evolution?” Evolution: Education & Outreach, 2(3), 2008, 527-532
[7] Tyson, H., & Woodward, A. “Why students aren’t learning very much from textbooks” Educational Leadership, 47(3), 1989, 14-17.
[8] Tidon, R., & Lewontin, R. C. “Teaching evolutionary biology”, Genetics and Molecular Biology, 27, 2004, 124-131
[9] Scheuch, M., Amon, H., Scheibstock, J., & Bauer, H. “"Evolution - Ein Roter Faden fur die Schule" - Kumulatives Lernen von Variation und Selektion in Sekundarstufe I und II” plusLucis, 1, 2017, 14-18.
[10] Scheuch, M., Amon, H., Scheibstock, J., & Bauer, H. “Teaching Evolution along a Learning Progression: An Austrian Attempt with Focus on Selection (Chapter 5)”, In M. Reiss & U. Harms (Eds.), Evolution Education Re-considered: Understanding what works, Springer, accepted, pp. 17
[11] Duncan, R. G., & Rivet, A. E.”Science Learning Progressions”. Science, 339(6118), 2013, 396-397
[12] Duschl, R., Maeng, S., & Sezen, A. “Learning progressions and teaching sequences: a review and analysis”, Studies in Science Education, 47(2), 2011, 123-182
[13] Mayring, P. “Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Grundlagen und Techniken” Weinheim und Basel: Beltz Verlag, 2007
[14] Roseman, J. E., Stern, L., & Koppal, M. “A Method for Analyzing the Coherence of High School Biology Textbooks” Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(1), 2010, 47-70
[15] Scheibstock, J. “Lerneffekte im Unterricht zum Thema Evolution  - eine Untersuchung zur Entwicklung von SchülerInnenvorstellungen zu Selektion und Variation”, Universität Wien, Wien, 2014, 180
 

Back to the list

REGISTER NOW

Reserved area


Media Partners:

Click BrownWalker Press logo for the International Academic and Industry Conference Event Calendar announcing scientific, academic and industry gatherings, online events, call for papers and journal articles
Pixel - Via Luigi Lanzi 12 - 50134 Firenze (FI) - VAT IT 05118710481
    Copyright © 2024 - All rights reserved

Privacy Policy

Webmaster: Pinzani.it