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Table 4 Analytical presentation of the FACE with guidelines and examples

From: Development and validation of a framework for the assessment of school curricula on the presence of evolutionary concepts (FACE)

Category Subcategory Guidelines Examples
1. History of life 1.1 Life has been on Earth for a long time Do not apply this to learning goals that do not explicitly mention time Through billions of years of evolution, life forms have continued to diversify in a branching pattern, from single-celled ancestors to the diversity of life on Earth today. (UECF)
Life on Earth 3.8 billion years ago consisted of one-celled organisms similar to present-day bacteria. (UECF)
Origin of life and of first eukaryotic cells. (IT, 9th-10th grades Technical/Vocational)
1.2 Present day life forms are related to past life forms A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 1.2 may ask students to understand:
· species’ shared ancestry
· species descend from past species
Do not apply to learning goals that only refer to genealogical trees of a family and relationships between individuals from one generation to the other
There is evidence of eukaryotes in the fossil record from about one billion years ago; some were the precursors of multicellular organisms. (UECF)
The early evolutionary process of eukaryotes included the merging of prokaryotic cells. (UECF)
To mention and explain the evidence in favor of the common origin of the living things. (GR 9th grade)
To describe human evolutionary history, with special focus on the complexity of hominids’ phylogenetic tree (IT, 9th-10th grades Technical/Vocational)
1.3 Large scale environmental changes (caused by geological, geophysical, astronomical factors) and biological evolution are linked Do not apply to learning goals that refer to anthropogenic environmental changes Tectonic plate movement has affected the evolution and distribution of living things. (UECF)
Living things have had a major influence on the composition of the atmosphere and on the surface of the planet. (UECF)
At least one mass extinction on planet Earth has been definitively linked to an asteroid impact. (UECF)
Relate the influence of living beings to the evolution of the earth's atmosphere and the greenhouse effect on the earth. (PT, 8th grade)
Understand the characteristics of planet Earth that allowed the emergence and evolution of life (PT, 8th grade)
1.4 Anthropogenic environmental changes and biological evolution are linked Do not apply to goals referring to natural environment's change Humans directly impact biodiversity, which may then impact future evolutionary potential. (UECF)
To raise their awareness of endangered animals and plants. (GR 1st grade)
Recognise the changes made by human activity to habitats and the impact on the ecosystem. (GR 2nd grade)
Relate the increase in world population and consumption with changes in the quality of the environment (destruction of forests, pollution, depletion of resources, extinction of species, etc.), recognising the need to adopt individual and collective measures that minimize the negative impact. (PT, 4th grade)
Relate the consequences of antibiotic misuse with increased bacterial resistance. (PT, 9th grade).***
1.5 Many life forms that once existed have gone extinct Apply to learning goals that either explicitly or not refer to species’ extinction and not just beings Mass Extinction can result from environmental change. (UECF)
Extinctions may create opportunities for further evolution in other lineages to occur. (UECF)
Identify endangered or even extinct plants and animals by investigating the reasons that led to this situation. (PT, 4th grade)
1.6 Rates of evolution vary   Rates of speciation vary. (UECF)
Evolutionary change can sometimes happen rapidly. (UECF)
Some lineages remain relatively unchanged for long periods of time. (UECF)
1.7 Life forms/species/ change through time Do not apply to learning goals related to development To recognise species succession and evolution. (UECF)
To refer and describe the stages of evolution of the human species. (GR 9th grade)
2. Evidence for evolution 2.1 Similarities and/or differences among existing organisms (including morphological, developmental, and molecular similarities) provide evidence for evolution A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 2.1 may ask students to recognise:
· that life is diverse
· differences and similarities between species
· similarities and differences between species result from evolution
Do not apply to learning goals that:
· are related with fossils. These may be characterized by subcategory 2.3
· learning goals that are explicitly related with intraspecific diversity. For these, apply subcategory 3.2
Not all similar traits are homologous; some are the result of convergent evolution. (UECF)
All life forms use the same basic DNA building blocks. (UECF)
To distinguish morphological or functional characteristics related to food intake or digestion and to relate them with the evolution of organisms. (GR 7th grade)
To identify similarities and differences in breathing across different categories of living organisms and identify those that are evidence of evolution. (GR 7th grade)
To recognise similarities and differences in the physiological functions of different living beings. (IT 6th-8th grades)
categorize living beings according to similarities and observable differences (animals, types of: coating, feeding, locomotion and reproduction; plants: root type, stem type, leaf shape, deciduous/persistent leaf, flower color, fruit and seed, etc.). (PT, 2nd grade)
Characterize some of the existing biodiversity at local, regional and national level, presenting examples of relationships between flora and fauna in different habitats. (PT, 5th grade)
Distinguish eukaryotic from prokaryotic cells through microscopic observations. (PT, 8th grade)
Identify, name and compare different living beings and environments. (SL, 1st-2nd grade)
Find differences and similarities between plants and animals. (SL,1st-2nd grade)
2.2 Evolution can be directly observed   Relate the consequences of antibiotic misuse with increased bacterial resistance (PT, 9th grade). ***
2.3 The fossil record provides evidence for evolution Can also be applied to goals asking students to recognise that there are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms The sequence of forms in the fossil record is reflected in the sequence of the rock layers in which they are found and indicates the order in which they evolved. (UECF)
Radiometric dating can often be used to determine the age of fossils. (UECF)
To recognise in the fossil record the clues to reconstruct environmental changes along time. (UECF)
The similarities and differences between species in the fossil record and between these and extant species provide evidence for evolution. (UECF)
Fossil records are the clues to reconstruct environmental changes over time, species succession and evolution. (IT, 6th-8th grades)
Explain the contribution of the study of fossils and fossilization processes to the reconstruction of the history of life on Earth. (PT, 7th grade)
2.4 The geographic distribution of extant species provides evidence for evolution A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 2.4 may ask students to understand that:
· current geographic distribution of species often reflects how geological changes influenced lineage splitting
· current distribution of species provides evidence of evolutionary processes
Insular species have closely related species in the continental areas. (UECF)
Some taxonomic classes can only be found in some places. (UECF)
2.5 Artificial selection provides evidence for evolution A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 2.5 may ask students to understand that:
· selective breeding can produce offspring with new traits
· artificial selection provides a model for natural selection
People selectively breed domesticated plants and animals to produce offspring with preferred characteristics. (UECF)
2.6 Organisms’ features, when analysed in relation to their environment provide evidence for evolution A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 2.6 may ask students to:
· recognise that plants and animals have features that allow them to live in various environments
· understand that there is a fit between organisms and their environments, though not always a perfect fit
· understand that an organism’s features reflect its adaptation to their environment
Do not apply to learning goals that ask students to recognise the existence of similarities and differences between organisms that are not under the light of the environment. Such learning goals may be applied to subcategory 2.1
There is a fit between organisms and their environments, though not always a perfect fit. (UECF)
Some traits of organisms are not adaptive (UECF)
Features sometimes acquire new functions through natural selection. (UECF)
Form is linked to function. (UECF)
An organism’s features reflect its adaptation to their environment. (UECF)
To recognise in other living organisms, with respect to their environments, similar needs as her/his own. (IT, 1st-3rd grades)
Relate the characteristics of living beings (animals and plants) with their habitat. (PT, 2nd grade)
Relate the characteristics (body shape, coating, organs of locomotion) of different animals to the environment in which they live. (PT, 5th grade)
Identify morphological and behavioral adaptations of animals and their responses to changes in water, light and temperature. (PT, 5th grade)
Relate abiotic factors—light, water, soil, temperature—with their influence on ecosystems, presenting examples of adaptations of living beings to these factors and articulating with knowledge of other disciplines (e.g. Geography). (PT, 8th grade)
3. Mechanisms of Evolution 3.1 Evolution is often defined as a change in allele frequencies within a population   
3.2 There is variation within a population   Variation of a character within a population may be discrete or continuous. (UECF)
Recognise the diversity between (…) organisms of the same species. (GR 7th grade)
To observe the variability of individuals within species. (IT 6th-8th grades)
Recognise similarities and differences between people. (SL, 1st grade)
3.3 Living things have offspring that inherit many traits from their parents but are not exactly identical to their parents A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 3.3 may ask students to understand that:
· parents and offspring, as well as siblings, share features but still differ from each other;
· recombination and mutations in reproductive cells result in new heritable traits and are sources of diversity;
· recombination and mutations are random processes
Variation is the result of genetic recombination or mutation. (UECF)
Continuous characters are generally influenced by many different genes. (UECF)
Mutation is a random process. (UECF)
Organisms cannot intentionally produce adaptive mutations in response to environmental influences. (UECF)
Recognise mutations (not in the independent gene combination and cross-linking) as the mechanism for generating genetic diversity. (GR 9th grade)
Recognise that living beings reproduce and that their offspring have characteristics similar to their parents, but also differ in some of them. (PT, 3rd grade)
Explain the relationship between hereditary factors, genetic information and the way sexual reproduction conditions intraspecific diversity and population evolution. (PT, 9th grade)
(…) they learn that animals have offspring that usually come from a male and female, and that their offspring are similar. (SL, 2nd grade)
3.4. Evolution occurs through multiple mechanisms Do not apply to learning goals that simply mention one evolutionary mechanism
Learning goals that just mention natural selection or genetic drift, they should be assigned to subcategories 3.5 and 3.8 respectively
 
3.5. Natural selection acts on the variation that exists in a population A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 3.5 may ask students to understand that
natural selection can act at multiple hierarchical levels such as genes, cells, individuals, populations, species, and larger clades
Do not apply to learning goals that mention more than one evolutionary process like “Natural selection and genetic drift act on the variation that exists in a population”. For these learning goals apply subcategory 3.4
Evolution results from selection acting upon genetic variation within a population. (UECF)
Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype. (UECF)
The amount of genetic variation within a population may affect the likelihood of survival of the population; the less the available diversity, the less likely the population will be able to survive environmental change. (UECF)
Natural selection sometimes favors heterozygotes over homozygotes at a locus. Heterozygote advantage preserves genetic variation at that locus (i.e., within the population, it maintains multiple alleles at that locus). (UECF)
To define natural selection and describe the mechanism by which living organisms evolve. (GR 9th grade)
Explain the need for the intervention of sex cells in the reproduction of some living beings and their importance for the evolution of the species. (PT, 5th grade)
3.6 Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism’s survival and reproduction A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 3.6 may ask students to understand that advantageous traits often persist in a population. Advantageous traits depend on the environment and the selective pressures it imposes Depending upon the environment, some living things will survive better than others. (UECF)
Environmental changes may affect an organism's ability to survive. (UECF)
Over time, the proportion of individuals with advantageous characteristics may increase (and the proportion with disadvantageous characteristics may decrease) due to their likelihood of surviving and reproducing. (UECF)
Populations, not individuals, evolve. (UECF)
Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations. (UECF)
3.7 Sexual selection occurs when selection acts on characteristics that affect the probability of obtaining a mate   Sexual selection can lead to physical and behavioral differences between the sexes (UECF)
3.8 Genetic drift acts on the variation that exists in a population Do not apply to learning goals that mention more than one evolutionary process like “Natural selection and genetic drift act on the variation that exists in a population”. For these learning goals apply subcategory 3.4 Smaller populations are more strongly affected by genetic drift than are larger populations. (UECF)
Genetic drift can cause loss of genetic variation in a population. (UECF)
Founder effects occur when a population is founded from a small number of individuals. (UECF)
Bottlenecks occur when a population's size is greatly reduced. (UECF)
Evolution results from genetic drift acting upon genetic variation within a population. (UECF)
3.9 Fitness is reproductive success — the number of viable offspring produced by an individual in comparison to other individuals in a population/species   An organism's fitness depends on both its survival and its reproduction. (UECF)
Fitness is often measured using proxies like mass, number of matings, and survival because it is difficult to measure reproductive success directly. (UECF)
3.10 Species can be defined in many ways A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 3.10 may ask students to:
· provide one or more species definition
· mention that hybrids can occasionally result from mating between distinct species or form
There are many definitions of species. (UECF)
Some hybrids have increased fitness relative to their parents. (UECF)
3.11 Speciation results from the splitting of one ancestral lineage into two or more descendant lineages   Speciation is often the result of geographic isolation. (UECF)
Speciation requires reproductive isolation. (UECF)
Occupying new environments can provide new selection pressures and new opportunities, leading to speciation. (UECF)
3.12 Evolution does not consist of progress in any particular direction   
4. Studying evolution 4.1 Scientists study multiple lines of evidence about evolution A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 4.1 may ask students to understand that:
· scientists study living beings and how these are related to each other
· our knowledge of evolution is constructed and continuously refined by multiple lines of evidence
Scientists use fossils to learn about past life. (UECF)
Scientists use multiple lines of evidence (including morphological, developmental, and molecular evidence) to infer the relatedness of taxa. (UECF)
Scientists use experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes. (UECF)
Scientists use artificial selection as a model to learn about natural selection. (UECF)
Evolutionary trees (e.g., phylogenies or cladograms) are built from multiple lines of evidence. (UECF)
Explain the contribution of the study of fossils and fossilization processes to the reconstruction of the history of life on Earth. (PT, 7th grade)
4.2 In everyday life we can find applications of evolutionary biology   To recognise, by experiencing plant cultivation and animal raising, that every organism’s life is related to other and different life forms. (IT, 4th-5th grades)
The variety of living beings and the complexity of their structures and functions are subject of the study of evolution and systematics, Mendelian genetics and organism-environment interactions, with the aim of valorisation and maintenance of biodiversity. (IT, 9th-10th grades)
4.3 Classification is based on evolutionary relationships Do not apply to learning goals that explore classifications that are not clearly based on evolutionary relationships
Apply to learning goals that explore classifications that are nested and biologically relevant (phylogenetically correct)
To classify them (organisms) according to specific criteria, to identify structural and functional similarities and differences, and relate them to the needs created by the environment in which they live. (GR general goals for 7th-9th grades)
To classify typical living organisms according to classification rules. (GR 7th grade)
To explain the meaning of classification and the parameters most commonly used to classify organisms. (IT 9th-10th grades Technical/Vocational)
5. Nature of Science 5.0 Understanding the NoS Goals that mention the importance of exploring NoS that cannot be attributed to any of the subcategories below should be considered as belonging to subcategory 5.0 Value the nature of science, continuing the development of scientific methodology in its different stages (Pt, from the 1st to the 4th grade)
5.1 Science is a human endeavor (achievement)   Recognise that science is a human activity, with its own goals, procedures and ways of thinking, through the exploration of current or historical events that document its nature. (PT,5th and 6th grades)
5.2 Science provides explanations for the natural world   Scientists can test Ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable. (UECF)
To use, as possible, the knowledge they achieve to interpret, phenomena, processes or problems that occur (…). (GR general biology goals 7th-9th grades)
5.3 Science is based on empirical evidence A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 5.3 may ask students to understand that science is based on evidence collected with our senses and extensions of our senses Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data. (UECF)
Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observations, comparisons, and modeling) to collect evidence. (UECF)
5.4 Scientific Ideas can change through time A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 5.4 may ask students to understand that scientific knowledge is open to question and revision depending on new ideas and/or new evidence  
5.5 Scientific theories are built through a transparent collective endeavor A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 5.5 may ask students to understand that:
· science always exposes ideas to testing
· scientists may explore different hypotheses to explain observations
· accepted scientific theories must survive rigorous testing and be supported by multiple lines of evidence to be accepted
· scientific controversy and debate within the community contribute to scientific progress
Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (UECF)
6. Development of scientific practices 6.0 Development of practices that scientists employ as they investigate and build models and theories about the world. **** A learning goal considered to represent subcategory 6.0 may ask for:
· students’ engagement and understanding scientific methodologies and practices
· students developing the scientific way of thinking
Recognise the importance of the scientific method for the study of life processes. (GR 7th grade)
The student explores phenomena with a scientific approach: […] observes and describes the unfolding of events, asks questions based on personal hypotheses, proposes and realises simple experiments. (IT grades 1st-5th)
Know how to ask questions, raise hypotheses, make inferences, prove results and know how to communicate, recognizing how knowledge is built. (PT, 1st-4th grade)
Build scientific explanations based on scientific concepts and evidence, obtained through the performance of diversified practical activities—laboratory, experimental, field—and planned to try to answer formulated problems. (PT, 5th-6th grade)
Implement practical investigations, based on systematic observation, modeling and laboratory/experimental work, to address problems related to terrestrial materials, diversity of living beings and their interactions with the environment. (PT, 5th-6th grade)
Plan and implement practical investigations based on systematic observation, modeling and work laboratory/experimental, to respond to problems related to the dynamics of planet Earth and to the evidence that helps tell its story. (PT, 7th-9th grade)
  1. *The examples provided are either from the UECF (Understanding Evolution Conceptual Framework) or they are goals from the analyzed curricula
  2. **Guidelines came up through this analysis and are considered important to be taken under consideration for future analyses
  3. ***Learning goals such as this are an example of the fact that some learning goals in the curriculum may be attributed to achieving more than one subcategory
  4. ****This subcategory is phrased according to NRC (2012)