The Effects of Performance-Based Education on Evolutionary Attitudes and Literacy

Creationist opposition to evolution is a major impediment to advancing science education in the US and a growing problem in the UK. Novel education approaches could be instrumental in stemming this opposition. Rapper Baba Brinkman’s live show “Rap Guide to Evolution” is one such effort, as it combines hip hop, science, and comedy. To investigate this, pre- and post-performance tests and a one-month follow-up using the Evolutionary Attitudes and Literacy Survey were administered to 92 UK students in conjunction with a “Rap Guide to Evolution” performance. Study compliance was poor, with only five participants completing all three surveys and low posttest reliability. Nonetheless, significant improvement from pretest to retention was detected in evolution exposure, though there was also a decrease in evolutionary knowledge. Regression analysis controlling for gender, current religion, openness to experience, and creationist reasoning also indicated a borderline significant decrease in evolution misconceptions and that the decrease in evolutionary knowledge was predicted mainly by current religion. Though results were mixed, this study is the first of its kind in testing the influence of informal education on evolutionary knowledge and attitudes. Future research will utilize more rigorous protocols and investigate variation in cultural models of resistance to evolution.
evolution, literacy, attitudes, hip hop, Baba Brinkman, comedy, evolution education, evolutionary studies