Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Evolution (Biology)--Study and teaching (Secondary); Common fallacies;


Evolution is the foundation of the biological sciences. Addressing misconceptions related to biological evolution ensures students have a solid understanding of evolution so that they can become scientifically literate members of society. While studies have identified misconceptions about evolution, there is much less research on the degree to which specific biology curricula address these misconceptions. The goal of this study is to determine how exposure to the SEPUP biology curriculum affects the misconceptions about evolutionary theory held by 10th grade students.

This study took place at a moderately-sized school located in the Midwest. Students respond with their agreeability to a modified BEL Survey, a 22 question survey containing evolution-related misconceptions. This survey was distributed as a Google Form and was given before instruction using SEPUP biology’s evolution unit as well as after. The data was analyzed using quantitative methods to measure the significance of conceptual change on a Likert scale. This study aims to find if there was a difference in students' evolution-related misconceptions after exposure to SEPUP biology curriculum.

For standard HS-LS4-1 and No Standard, students showed a statistically significant improvement in addressing the underlying misconceptions, however the effect sizes were small, 0.25 and 0.28 respectively. The SEPUP curriculum does a good job at addressing common misconceptions students have about biological evolution. Further data analysis into the standards that would address the misconceptions identified in the BEL Survey found that the categories No Standard and HS-LS1-1 had significant differences between pre and post-test scores.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Science Education Program

First Advisor

Kyle Gray, Advisor

Date Original

Spring 2022

Object Description

1 PDF file (47 pages)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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