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Table 3 Likert-scale items used in our survey to measure student understanding and acceptance of evolution, derived from Hawley et al. (2011) and Short and Hawley (2012) (EALS) and Bailey et al. (2011) (indicated with *)

From: The positive effect of role models in evolution instruction

Scalea Original question Acceptb Understandc Micro-acceptd Conflicte
R Are you religious? N/A N/A   
R Does religion impact your daily life-decisions? N/A N/A   
R Do you participate in religious activities? N/A N/A   
R I believe in God N/A N/A   
R Religion is important to me because it answers many of my questions about the meaning of life N/A N/A   
R Are you conservative? N/A N/A   
R In general, how do you self-identify politically? N/A N/A   
R In general, how liberal/conservative are you on social issues (abortion, same-sex marriage, flag burning, etc.)? N/A N/A   
R In general, how liberal/conservative are you on economic issues (welfare, taxation, free market policies)? N/A N/A   
CR The present day genetic diversity in the human species can be accounted for by an original pair of human beings   X X  
CR The earth is old enough for evolution to have taken place   X X  
CR There was a time when humans and dinosaurs lived on earth together   X X  
CR God created humans all at once in their present form   X X  
CR I believe that current animal diversity is best explained by the Great Flood during Noah’s life   X X  
CR I believe that all modern species of land vertebrates are descended from the animal pairs that were gathered onto Noah’s ark   X X  
CR I read the Bible literally N/A N/A N/A  
CR I believe that the theory of evolution has contributed to racism N/A N/A N/A  
CR I believe that the theory of evolution has contributed to sexism N/A N/A N/A  
CR People who accept evolution do not believe in God X   X  
CR People who accept evolution as fact are immoral X   X  
CR I believe that Darwinism strips meaning from our lives X   X  
CR I believe that people can be moral and believe in evolution at the same time X   X  
CR If you accept evolution, you really can’t believe in God X   X  
CR Human beings were specially designed by an intelligent creator for their role in nature X   X  
CR There is scientific evidence that humans were created by a supreme being or intelligent designer   X   
CR There is no evidence that humans evolved from other animals   X   
CR Evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics (that systems move toward disorder, not order)   X   
CR There are no transitional fossils (i.e., remains of life forms that illustrate an evolutionary transition)   X   
CR It is statistically impossible that life arose by chance   X   
CR The theory of evolution does not explain similarities or differences between chimps and humans   X   
CR I believe that evolution is a theory in crisis X X X  
CR The theory of evolution is a matter of faith and belief, just like religion X X X  
CR Contemporary methods of determining the age of fossils and rocks are untrustworthy   X   
CR The data used to support evolution is untrustworthy   X   
CR If something is natural then it is good or right N/A N/A N/A  
KR Evolutionary theory is highly relevant for biology   X X  
KR Evolutionary theory is relevant to our everyday lives, such as in modern medicine and modern food production   X X  
KR For scientific evidence to be deemed adequate, it must be reproducible by others   X   
KR Good theories give rise to testable predictions   X   
KR Good theories can be proven by a single experiment   X   
KR Scientific ideas can be tested and supported by feelings and beliefs   X   
KR Scientific explanations can include supernatural evidence   X   
KR Theories requiring more untested assumptions are generally better than theories with fewer assumptions   X   
KR Humans share 99% of their genes with chimpanzees   X X  
KR Humans share more than half of their genes with mice   X   
KR You can see traces of our evolutionary past in human embryos   X   
KR Humans developed from earlier life forms   X   
KR Mutations, random changes in the genetic code, are never beneficial   X X  
KR In most animal and plant populations, more offspring are born than can survive   X X  
KR Individual organisms don’t evolve, species evolve over time   X   
KR Mutations, changes to the genetic code, can be passed down to the next generation   X X  
KR Increased genetic variability makes a population more resistant to extinction   X X  
KR The more recently species share a common ancestor, the more closely related they are   X   
KR Mutations (changes in the genetic code) occur all the time   X X  
KR Natural selection is the only cause of evolution   X X  
CO I am afraid to study science or become a scientist because I fear that science is opposed to my religious faith*     X
CO I believe that science and religion are fundamentally opposed to each other and a person cannot believe in or be committed to both*     X
CO I believe that science and religion are fully compatible; they address different things and do not conflict*     X
CO I believe that science and religion complement each other*     X
CO A complete view of the world must combine the two ways (science and religion) of viewing the universe*     X
CO I believe that people can be religious and believe in evolution at the same time*     X
CO I believe that science provides the only way to truly understand the world; religion cannot help us understand the world*     X
  1. Items which did not directly measure evolution acceptance or understanding are labeled with “N/A”
  2. aScales: R religiosity, CR creationist reasoning, KR knowledge and relevance of evolution, CO perceived conflict between evolution and personal worldview
  3. bAccept = Students use their level of acceptance of both the mechanisms and result of evolution (i.e., microevolution, macroevolution, and human evolution) to respond to statement
  4. cUnderstand = Students use their knowledge to respond to statement, regardless of their acceptance level
  5. dMicro-accept = Students use their level of acceptance of microevolution (not human and/or macroevolution) to respond to statement. This designation is always matched with either accept or understand
  6. eConflict = Students perceive that their personal worldview and ideas of evolution are not compatible