The Process of Natural Selection: Does Student Understanding Differ Between Rural and Urban Schools?
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The process of natural selection is a pivotal component of modern biology. Because of its significance, this study was conducted to determine if student understanding of natural selection differs between rural and urban schools, potentially revealing a need to modify existing curriculum. Specifically, it was hypothesized that students attending rural schools would possess a significantly better understanding of natural selection than those students attending urban schools because of their more frequent and direct interaction with the natural world. To test this hypothesis, a middle school version of the Conceptual Inventory of Natural Selection was administered to a total of 168 students at two rural schools and two urban schools. Statistical analysis showed that there was no significant difference between the mean score of those students attending rural schools and the mean score of those students attending urban schools. However, both groups scored lower than expected, revealing that it would likely prove beneficial to implement additional environmental-based lessons and activities at both rural and urban schools.