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  • 1.
    Brusman, Mats
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Division of Learning, Aesthetics, Natural Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Turunen, Päivi
    Akademin för hälsa och arbetsliv, Socialt arbete, Högskolan i Gävle.
    Socialt hållbar samhällsplanering2018In: Samhällsarbete: Aktörer, arenor och perspektiv / [ed] Stefan Sjöberg, Päivi Turunen, Lund: Studentlitteratur AB, 2018, p. 117-138Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 2.
    Göransson, Andreas C.
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
    Orraryd, Daniel
    Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Division of Learning, Aesthetics, Natural Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
    Fiedler, Daniela
    IPN - Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education.
    Tibell, Lena
    Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
    Conceptual Characterization of Threshold Concepts in Student Explanations of Evolution by Natural Selection and Effects of Item Context2020In: CBE - Life Sciences Education, ISSN 1931-7913, E-ISSN 1931-7913, Vol. 19, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Evolutionary theory explains a wide range of biological phenomena. Proper understanding of evolutionary mechanisms such as natural selection is therefore an essential goal for biology education. Unfortunately, natural selection has time and again proven difficult to teach and learn, and students’ resulting understanding is often characterized by misconceptions. Previous research has often focused on the importance of certain key concepts such as variation, differential survival, and change in population. However, so-called threshold concepts (randomness, probability, spatial scale, and temporal scales) have also been suggested to be important for understanding of natural selection, but there is currently limited knowledge about how students use these concepts. We sought to address this lack of knowledge by collecting responses to three different natural selection items from 247 university students from Sweden and Germany. Content analysis (deductive and inductive coding) and subsequent statistical analysis of their responses showed that they overall use some spatial scale indicators, such as individuals and populations, but less often randomness or probability in their explanations. However, frequencies of use of threshold concepts were affected by the item context (e.g., the biological taxa and trait gain or loss). The results suggest that the impact of threshold concepts, especially randomness and probability, on natural selection understanding should be further explored.

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