Missing concordance between knowledge and efficacy among Danish science teacher students regarding education for sustainable development

  • Mette Hesselholt Henne Hansen VIA University College
  • Martin Krabbe Sillasen VIA University College


We conducted a nation-wide survey of Danish science teacher students specializing in science subjects,

in order to investigate their knowledge, attitude and self-efficacy on central aspects of education for

sustainable development. Our study finds, in accordance with previous publications, a high degree of

positive attitude towards the importance of teaching sustainability, and a significant positive correlation

between self-efficacy and self-assessed knowledge about the topics in the survey. However, in our study

both self-efficacy and self-assessed knowledge correlate negatively with actual knowledge, indicating

that some of our participants are subject to an overinflated self-assessment while others may underestimate

their proficiency within the topics. In cognitive psychology, this phenomenon is known as the

Dunning-Kruger effect, and we discuss its implications for how best to ensure quality in education for

sustainable development in our schools.