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New Zealand Science Teacher


Australian science literacy falls

A new survey shows basic science knowledge is falling in Australia.

Results from the popular survey Science Literacy in Australia have been released for 2013.

The survey, conducted by Auspoll on behalf of the Australian Academy of Science, asked young Australian adults questions to test their basic scientific knowledge.

These included how long it took for Earth to travel around the sun and whether evolution was still occurring.

The survey also asked whether humans and dinosaurs ever co-existed, and some surprising results were revealed.

Three in ten people didn’t know that evolution is still occurring, with a similar proportion of the public dismissing the idea that humans influence evolution in other creatures.

It also found that only 59 per cent of the respondents knew the Earth took just over a year to traverse the sun.

According to the survey, which questioned 1,115 people, Australians' knowledge has declined in the past three years. The same survey was previously conducted in 2010.

Australian academics suggest that films such as Jurassic Park confuse people about scientific ideas, such as humans and dinosaurs coexisting.

Professor Les Field, secretary for science policy at the Australian Academy of Science, expressed disappointment at the results.

He highlighted the need for wider scientific literacy to enable informed public debate on such issues as climate change and immunisation.

Find out how you'd fare by taking the test yourself here on The Guardian.

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