A CROSS-CULTURAL STUDY ON FRESHMEN’S KNOWLEDGE OF GENETICS, EVOLUTION, AND THE NATURE OF SCIENCE
Authors: Andrej Šorgo, Muhammet Usak, Milan Kubiatko, Jana Fančovičova, Pavol Prokop, Miro Puhek, Jiri Skoda, Mehmet Bahar
Number of views: 273
The purpose of this study was to measure the freshmen’s level of knowledge about genetics, evolution, human evolution, the nature of science, and opinions on evolution and the presence of non-scientific explanations among Czech, Slovakian, Slovenian and Turkish students. Determination of prior knowledge and pre-conceptions about these issues is important because they are filters to learning other related concepts. The results are going to be a starting point for developing teaching strategies concerning Darwinian evolution and preparing prospective science teachers for working with students in national and international contexts. A total of 994 first-year university students from the Czech Republic (276; 27.8%), Slovakia (212, 21.3%), Slovenia (217, 27.3%) and Turkey (235, 23.6%) participated in this study. The findings can be summarized as follows: knowledge especially that of the nature of science at the freshmen level was seriously flawed. Non-scientific explanations were present in high percentages. Both were regarded as barriers towards scientific reasoning and acceptance of general human evolution especially for students expressing orthodox religious beliefs.