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

Xana Sá-Pinto, Giulia Realdon, Gregor Torkar, Bruno Sousa, Martha Georgiou, Alex Jeffries, Konstantinos Korfiatis, Silvia Paolucci, Patrícia Pessoa, Joana Rocha, Panagiotis K. Stasinakis, Bento Cavadas, Angelica Crottini, Tanja Gnidovec, Teresa Nogueira, Penelope Papadopoulou, Costanza Piccoli, Johan Barstad, Heloise D. Dufour, Milena PejchinovskaAlma Pobric, Dragana Cvetković, Evangelia Mavrikaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages27
JournalEvolution: Education and Outreach
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Xana Sá-Pinto is funded by Portuguese national funds through FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., within the scope of the framework contract foreseen in the numbers 4, 5 and 6 of the article 23, of the Decree-Law 57/2016, of August 29, changed by Law 57/2017, of July 19 and through the project UID/CED/00194/2019. Teresa Nogueira was supported by FCT, under the project UID/00329/202 and the contract ALG-01–0145-FEDER-028824. Angelica Crottini is supported by the Portuguese National Funds through FCT with the Investigador FCT grant (IF/00209/2014). Costanza Piccoli is supported by FCT PhD Studentship (SFRH/BD/144342/2019).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Content analysis
  • Curricula analysis
  • Evolution education
  • Learning goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Development and validation of a framework for the assessment of school curricula on the presence of evolutionary concepts (FACE)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this