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Table 2 Evolution survey item list, by concept, with significance test results (Response options for each: Strongly Agree; Agree; Disagree; Strongly Disagree; No Opinion (undecided/never heard of it))

From: Correcting misconceptions about evolution: an innovative, inquiry-based introductory biological anthropology laboratory course improves understanding of evolution compared to instructor-centered courses

Item
#
 
2* Dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time in the past.
5* There is sufficient cause for doubt about evolution because it is “just a theory.”
17* You cannot demonstrate that evolution happens.
20* A scientific theory is a set of hypotheses that have been tested repeatedly and have not been rejected.
24* Evolution is a fact.
3* Humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor that is neither a human nor a chimpanzee.
9* A species evolves because individuals want to.
15* Evolutionary change in a population is irreversible.
18 Evolution cannot work because one mutation cannot cause a complex structure (e.g., the eye).
19* There is an inevitable direction in evolution.
22* Evolution has made living things perfectly adapted to their environment.
25* Based on current function in humans, grasping hands must have evolved to facilitate tool use.
6 Population size has little or no effect on the evolution of a species.
7* If two light-skinned people moved to Hawaii and got very tan their children would be born tanner than the parents were originally.
8 Variation among individuals within a species is important for evolution.
11 From an evolutionary perspective, a 25-year-old Olympic gymnast obviously has a higher fitness than an obese 60-year-old grandmother of 10.
13* New mutations occur within a population when they are needed.
14* If two distinct populations within the same species begin to breed together this can influence the evolution of that species.
16* Evolution only occurs through natural selection.
21 Changes in the environment can drive adaptation.
1* There is a lot of evidence against evolution.
4* The theory of evolution correctly explains the history and diversity of life.
10* Humanity came to be through evolution.
12 Evolution is such a slow process that it is impossible to witness in action.
23 Humans are more evolved than other forms of life.
  1. Concept #1 (in bold): Understanding of basic scientific evidence and the process of science
  2. Concept #2 (in italics): Understanding of evolution (from a general/big-picture perspective)
  3. Concept #3 (in bold italics): Understanding of the mechanisms of evolution (i.e., natural selection, mutation, drift, and gene flow)
  4. Concept #4 (in underline): Understanding of the evidence for evolution
  5. *A significantly higher percentage of WCU students answered correctly post-course than at other institutions