Skip to main content

Table 2 State scores for the coverage of various aspects of evolution in state science standards

From: Why Science Standards are Important to a Strong Science Curriculum and How States Measure Up

State E-word Biological evolution Human evolution Geological evolution Cosmological evolution Historical sciences Creationist jargon Disclaimers Raw score Percentage Grade
AL 5 10 0 20 10 2.5 0 −25 22.5 20.5 F
AK 20 30 0 10 5 0 0 0 65 59.1 D
AZ 20 30 0 20 10 10 0 0 90 81.8 B
AR 20 30 0 20 0 2.5 0 0 72.5 65.9 C
CA 20 40 10 20 10 10 0 0 110 100 A
CO 20 40 2.5 20 2.5 5 0 0 90 81.8 B
CT 20 30 0 10 5 0 0 0 65 59.1 D
DE 20 40 0 20 5 2.5 0 0 87.5 79.5 B
DC 20 40 10 20 5 10 0 0 105 95.5 A
FLa 20 40 10 20 5 5 0 0 100 90.9 A
GA 10 20 2.5 20 10 10 0 0 72.5 65.9 C
HI 20 40 2.5 20 5 5 −10 0 82.5 75 C
ID 20 30 0 20 10 10 0 0 90 81.8 B
IL 20 30 10 10 10 10 0 0 90 81.8 B
IN 20 40 10 20 5 10 0 0 105 95.5 A
IA 20 30 0 20 5 10 0 0 85 77.3 C
KS 20 40 5 20 10 10 0 0 105 95.5 A
KY 5 20 0 20 5 10 0 0 60 54.5 D
LA 20 30 0 20 5 5 −25 −25 30 27.3 F
ME 20 40 0 10 2.5 2.5 0 0 75 68.2 C
MD 20 30 0 20 5 5 0 0 80 72.7 C
MA 20 40 2.5 20 5 5 0 0 92.5 84.1 B
MI 20 30 10 20 5 2.5 0 0 87.5 79.5 B
MN 20 40 5 20 5 10 −2.5 0 97.5 88.6 B
MS 20 40 2.5 20 10 5 −2.5 0 95 86.4 B
MO 20 40 0 20 5 10 −10 0 85 77.5 C
MT 20 30 0 20 10 2.5 0 0 82.5 75.0 C
NE 20 30 5 10 5 5 −2.5 0 72.5 65.9 C
NV 20 40 0 10 10 5 0 0 85 77.3 C
NH 20 40 5 20 5 10 0 0 100 90.9 A
NJ 20 40 10 20 10 10 0 0 110 100 A
NM 20 40 5 20 5 10 0 0 100 90.9 A
NY 20 30 5 5 10 10 −5 0 75 68.5 C
NC 20 40 5 20 5 10 −10 0 90 81.8 B
ND 20 30 0 10 5 5 0 0 70 63.6 C
OH 20 40 5 10 10 10 0 0 95 86.4 B
OK 0 20 0 5 2.5 0 0 0 27.5 25.0 F
OR 20 30 0 20 10 10 0 0 90 81.8 B
PA 20 40 10 20 10 5 0 0 105 95.5 A
RI 20 40 10 10 5 5 0 0 90 81.8 B
SC 20 40 0 20 10 10 0 0 100 90.9 A
SD 20 30 0 20 10 5 0 0 85 77.3 C
TN 10 30 0 10 5 5 0 0 60 54.5 D
TX 20 30 0 10 5 5 −20 0 50 45.5 F
UT 20 30 0 20 10 10 0 0 90 81.8 B
VT 20 30 5 20 10 10 0 0 95 86.4 B
VA 10 30 0 20 10 5 0 0 75 68.2 C
WA 20 40 5 20 5 5 0 0 95 86.4 B
WV 10 30 0 5 5 0 0 0 50 45.5 F
WI 20 30 0 10 5 5 0 0 70 63.6 D
WY 20 30 0 10 5 2.5 0 0 67.5 61.4 D
  1. aValues for Florida were taken from a report Lawrence Lerner provided the National Center for Science Education
  2. Criteria used for scoring treatment of evolution (as described in Lerner 2000)
  3. Column 2: “E-word used?”
  4. 20: The word “evolution” is used whenever called for. There are likely one or more major sections entitled “Evolution”
  5. 10: The word is used, but not often. It may well appear more frequently in earth science or astronomy sections than in life-science sections
  6. 5: The word is used just once, or appears only in one or a few places where it might easily be missed
  7. 0:The word does not appear
  8. Column 3: “Biological evolution treated?”
  9. 40: The treatment is thorough and detailed and permeates the treatment of the historical sciences rather than being confined to a single section. At least some of the basic underlying concepts essential to understanding evolution are introduced at early grades
  10. 30: Evolution is treated straightforwardly but perhaps briefly and/or not in the earlier grades. The overarching importance of evolution, especially in the life sciences, is not stressed
  11. 20: Evolution is mentioned briefly but the criteria for higher scores are not met
  12. 10: Evolution is mentioned, but not in a way that encourages clarification of its role in the life sciences
  13. 0: No treatment
  14. Column 4: “Human evolution treated?”
  15. 10: There is at least some direct mention of human evolution
  16. 5: Human evolution is not mentioned explicitly, but is implied in statements to the effect that biological concepts are as applicable to humans as to other animals
  17. 2.5 Human evolution is very weakly implied
  18. 0: No treatment of human evolution
  19. Column 5: “Geological evolution treated?”
  20. 20: Substantial attention is devoted to the history of the earth and to such mechanisms as plate tectonics and continental drift, usually at early or middle grades
  21. 10: The treatment of earth history is good but less than ideally thorough, with treatment usually beginning at the middle or even high school level
  22. 5: Words such as “plate tectonics” and “continental drift” are used, but in a limited way and/or at the high school level only
  23. 2.5 Mention only in passing, at the high-school level only
  24. 0: No treatment
  25. Column 6: “Cosmology treated?”
  26. 10: There is significant discussion of the Big Bang, of stellar evolution, of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and perhaps of quasars, neutron stars, black holes, and other cosmologically significant objects, usually beginning at the middle-school or even the primary level
  27. 5: There is a brief treatment, usually only at the high school level
  28. 2.5: There is a single statement, at the high school level, of the form “Students will be able to discuss the Big Bang and other theories of the origin of the universe”
  29. 0: No treatment
  30. “Column 7: Connections among the historical sciences treated?”
  31. 10: Significant exposition of the seamless connection among the life, earth, and space sciences. Examples: discussion of the essential role of living things in the transition of the earth’s atmosphere from reducing to oxidizing and the consequences of this for the evolution of life; the use of radioactive dating in geology and biology; the presence of iridium at the K-T boundary. These ideas are typically introduced in the middle or early grades
  32. 5: Brief treatment with few examples, usually confined to the upper grades
  33. 2.5: Minimal treatment
  34. 0: No treatment
  35. Column 8: “Creationist jargon used?”
  36. States that use creationist jargon lose points; they are docked for undermining the sound treatment of evolution
  37. −20: Extensive use of the kinds of language used by creationists to cast doubt on the theory of evolution: for instance, describing evolution as a controversial theory among scientists, conflating the scientific meaning of the word “theory” with its everyday meaning, and misusing the term “microevolution” to describe known examples of evolution that result in diverse species
  38. −10 Less extensive use of such terminology
  39. −5: Brief, probably inadvertent use of the terminology
  40. 0: No use
  41. Column 9: “Disclaimer?”
  42. States that require a disclaimer lose points; they are docked for subverting the sound treatment of evolution
  43. −25 Yes. The state requires a statement that attempts to deny what its textbooks are teaching
  44. 0: No use