Writing arguments with evidence: the claim-evidence-reasoning framework and scientific literacy

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Tenth-grade students were struggling to meet proficiency levels in argumentative writing activities and often made claims in science discussions without using evidence and reason to support them. Over one school year, tenth-grade biology students were introduced to various strategies to address this problem. Close Reading annotations, Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) frameworks and bell-ringer journaling were used within two treatment units: one on ecology and one on microbiology. Student journal answers and lab discussions were assessed for the use of evidence and reasoning to support arguments and students were given a pre-, mid-, and post-treatment writing assessment to measure improvement. Results indicate that students improved in their use of evidence and reasoning to support claims in journal writing and lab discussions and about half of the students showed growth on their argumentative writing assessment. Students who did not complete the practices or participate fully did not show improvement.




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