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

  • Sá-Pinto, Xana1
  • Realdon, Giulia2
  • Torkar, Gregor3
  • Sousa, Bruno4
  • Georgiou, Martha5
  • Jeffries, Alex6
  • Korfiatis, Konstantinos7
  • Paolucci, Silvia8
  • Pessoa, Patrícia1
  • Rocha, Joana9
  • Stasinakis, Panagiotis K.10
  • Cavadas, Bento11, 12
  • Crottini, Angelica13
  • Gnidovec, Tanja3
  • Nogueira, Teresa14, 15
  • Papadopoulou, Penelope16
  • Piccoli, Costanza13
  • Barstad, Johan17
  • Dufour, Heloise D.18
  • Pejchinovska, Milena19
  • And 3 more
  • 1 University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal , Aveiro (Portugal)
  • 2 University of Camerino, Camerino, Italy , Camerino (Italy)
  • 3 University of Ljubljana Faculty of Education, Kardeljeva ploščad 16, Ljubljana, 1000, Slovenia , Ljubljana (Slovenia)
  • 4 Alpoente, Agrupamento de Escolas de Albufeira Poente, Albufeira, Portugal , Albufeira (Portugal)
  • 5 National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece , Athens (Greece)
  • 6 University of Bath, Bath, UK , Bath (United Kingdom)
  • 7 University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus , Nicosia (Cyprus)
  • 8 Laboratorio di Scienze Sperimentali, Foligno, Italy , Foligno (Italy)
  • 9 University of Trás-Os-Montes E Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal , Vila Real (Portugal)
  • 10 Ampelokipoi Laboratory Centre for Natural Sciences (EKFE), Athens, Greece , Athens (Greece)
  • 11 IPsantarém, Polytechnic Institute of Santarém-School of Education, Santarém, Portugal , Santarém (Portugal)
  • 12 CeiED, Lusófona University, Lisboa, Portugal , Lisboa (Portugal)
  • 13 CIBIO/InBio InBIO, Universidade Do Porto, Centro de Investigação Em Biodiversidade E Recursos Genéticos, Campus Agrario de Vairão, Vairão, 4485-661, Portugal , Vairão (Portugal)
  • 14 INIAV, National Institute for Agrarian and Veterinary Research, Oeiras and Vairão, Portugal , Oeiras and Vairão (Portugal)
  • 15 University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal , Lisbon (Portugal)
  • 16 University of Western Macedonia, Kozani, Greece , Kozani (Greece)
  • 17 University College of Green Development, Bryne, Norway , Bryne (Norway)
  • 18 Le Cercle FSER, Paris, France , Paris (France)
  • 19 “St. Kliment Ohridski” University, Bitola, North Macedonia , Bitola (Macedonia)
  • 20 University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina , Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
  • 21 University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia , Belgrade (Serbia)
  • 22 National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Navarinou 13A, Athens, 10680, Greece , Athens (Greece)
Published Article
Evolution: Education and Outreach
Springer US
Publication Date
Feb 26, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s12052-021-00142-2
Springer Nature


Evolution is a key concept of biology, fundamental to understand the world and address important societal problems, but research studies show that it is still not widely understood and accepted. Several factors are known to influence evolution acceptance and understanding, but little information is available regarding the impacts of the curriculum on these aspects. Very few curricula have been examined to assess the coverage of biological evolution. The available studies do not allow comparative analyses, due to the different methodologies employed by the authors. However, such an analysis would be useful for research purposes and for the development of appropriate educational policies to address the problem of a lack of evolution acceptance in some countries. In this paper we describe the steps through which we developed a valid and reliable instrument for curricula analysis known as FACE: “Framework to Assess the Coverage of biological Evolution by school curricula.” This framework was developed based on the “Understanding Evolution Conceptual Framework” (UECF). After an initial pilot study, our framework was reformulated based on identified issues and experts’ opinions. To generate validity and reliability evidence in support of the framework, it was applied to four European countries’ curricula. For each country, a team of a minimum of two national and two foreign coders worked independently to assess the curriculum using this framework for content analysis. Reliability evidence was estimated using Krippendorf's alpha and resulted in appropriate values for coding the examined curricula. Some issues that coders faced during the analysis were discussed and, to ensure better reliability for future researchers, additional guidelines and one extra category were included in the framework. The final version of the framework includes six categories and 34 subcategories. FACE is a useful tool for the analysis and the comparison of curricula and school textbooks regarding the coverage of evolution, and such results can guide curricula development.

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