Next Generation Science Standards

Addressing Scientific Argumentation: Assessing Student Claims

If you have started to look for ways to assess student work when they are writing out their claims and evidence essays, you might find this book chapter helpful. It features several student work samples and rubrics. See: Assessments and Student Samples
It is taken from the book, "Scientific Argumentation in Biology: 30 Classroom Activities available at the NSTA book store.
What other resources have you found to help us with integrating NGSS into our science curriculum?
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
84743 Activity Points

This chapter from Ready,Set, Science !, free through the NAP, is a good touch stone chapter about scientific argumentation Really find this quote important when considering what we commonly think of as argumentation and how it differs from scientific argumentation [url=http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11882&page=87]Making Thinking Visible: Talk and Argument[/url][i] Argumentation can take several different forms. It is important that educators and students recognize and understand the science-specific forms of argumentation and how they differ from the common forms of argumentation in which people engage in daily life. For example, the kinds of arguments in which a person may participate with family members, friends, or acquaintances are often acrimonious or focused on the desire to make one’s point and “win” the argument. Or in the case of more formal debate, such as the kind politicians engage in, contestants are scored on their ability to “sell” an argument that favors a particular position. Both of these forms of argumentation differ from scientific argumentation in important ways. In science, the goals of argumentation are to promote as much understanding of a situation as possible and to persuade colleagues of the validity of a specific idea. Rather than trying to win an argument, as people often do in nonscience contexts, scientific argumentation is ideally about sharing, processing, and learning about ideas. Scientific argumentation is also governed by shared norms of participation. Scientific argumentation focuses on ideas, and any resulting criticism targets those ideas and observations, not the individuals who express them. Scientists understand that, ultimately, building scientific knowledge requires building theories that incorporate the largest number of valid observations possible. Thus, while scientists may strongly defend a particular theory, when presented with a persuasive claim that does not support their position, they know they must try to integrate it into their thinking. [/i]

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
43388 Activity Points

This chapter from Ready,Set, Science !, free through the NAP, is a good touch stone chapter about scientific argumentation Really find this quote important when considering what we commonly think of as argumentation and how it differs from scientific argumentation [url=http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11882&page=87]Making Thinking Visible: Talk and Argument[/url][i] Argumentation can take several different forms. It is important that educators and students recognize and understand the science-specific forms of argumentation and how they differ from the common forms of argumentation in which people engage in daily life. For example, the kinds of arguments in which a person may participate with family members, friends, or acquaintances are often acrimonious or focused on the desire to make one’s point and “win” the argument. Or in the case of more formal debate, such as the kind politicians engage in, contestants are scored on their ability to “sell” an argument that favors a particular position. Both of these forms of argumentation differ from scientific argumentation in important ways. In science, the goals of argumentation are to promote as much understanding of a situation as possible and to persuade colleagues of the validity of a specific idea. Rather than trying to win an argument, as people often do in nonscience contexts, scientific argumentation is ideally about sharing, processing, and learning about ideas. Scientific argumentation is also governed by shared norms of participation. Scientific argumentation focuses on ideas, and any resulting criticism targets those ideas and observations, not the individuals who express them. Scientists understand that, ultimately, building scientific knowledge requires building theories that incorporate the largest number of valid observations possible. Thus, while scientists may strongly defend a particular theory, when presented with a persuasive claim that does not support their position, they know they must try to integrate it into their thinking. [/i]

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
43388 Activity Points

Well, I will try to upload my file that I have to help students with science argumentation. There is a graphic organizer, rubric, and writing frame with sentence starters. I teach 8th grade. If I want good written arguments from students, I find they need a lot of scaffolding help from me (as of now).

Susan German
Susan German
31975 Activity Points

Susan, I would love to see what you are using to get your 8th graders to help your students with argumentation. As colleagues, we are struggling to come to terms with what science argumentation is and what it looks like in our classrooms. I recently found a resource online taken from “The Science Teacher”, Summer 2013, http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/Sci.Argumentation.html that helps define what it is and some ideas for implementation in my classroom. As with all that is new, I think it will take some time to use, evaluate and make modifications of the process. I have found the book, “Supporting Grade 5-8 Students in Constructing Explanation in Science, The Claim, Evidence and Reasoning Framework for Talk and Writing,” Katherine L. McNeil and Joseph S. Krajcik to be incredibly useful to me as a middle school teacher. Also available is “What’s Your Evidence: Engaging K-5 Children in Constructing Explanations in Science”, by Carla L. Zembal-Saul and Katherine L. McNeil that builds understanding for K-5 students. Both books contain many wonderful examples that help students gain understanding.

Sandy Gady
Sandy Gady
43095 Activity Points

Hi Sandy, Here it is. I will admit to "stealing" ideas from others. Unfortunately, I don't have references. Susan

Attachments

Susan German
Susan German
31975 Activity Points

I agree Sandy. I have not purchased the Grade 5-8 book but I can speak to Carla's book for grades K-5. I ran a book group with this text and we were able to look at constructing explanations closely. I am thinking that in order to be able to have an argument with evidence, you need to be able to construct an explanation which is then the basis for your argument. Does this make sense? If not, please push back because I am trying to get a handle on all of these important transitions too. Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33720 Activity Points

I have been spending a lot of time talking to the English department at my school about what argumentation looks like in their classroom so that when I bring it to mine there will be overlap. I think it is important for students to understand that writing in an English class is similar to writing in a science class. Good academic writing is written in the third person and supports the thesis or in science the claim. Our English department has been very helpful.

Chelsea Bender
Chelsea Bender
1295 Activity Points

My school has been utilizing the claim-evidence-reasoning argumentation structure for some time for all students in grades 6-12. I try to have students format any and all explanations in this format and have definitely noticed an increasing sophistication in their scientific arguments throughout the course of the year. We developed a rubric for middle school students to asses their CERs, which is attached. I use this to asses my own students as well as have students asses themselves and others.

Kathryn Fleegal
Kathryn Fleegal
1960 Activity Points

Thank you Susan for your posting and articles it was very helpful for my special needs students to understand and use.

Judith Lucas-Odom
Judith Lucas-Odom
23000 Activity Points

Judith,

What level are your special needs students? The Next Generation Science Standards were written with ALL students in mind .

Here is the link to the Case Studies about ALL students. Appendix D and Case Studies


Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33720 Activity Points

Thank you Kathy, I teach 7th and 8th that are non-readers up to sixth grade, mixed with emotional support. I will look at the link. Judy

Judith Lucas-Odom
Judith Lucas-Odom
23000 Activity Points

Hi Judith, I used a colored file folder and added the sheets to it, and then laminated. Students can go and grab a folder as needed in class. I also have done them for compare and contrast. I need to work on some for graphs and scientific explanations.

Susan German
Susan German
31975 Activity Points

Thank you Susan, I will try this in school. Judith Lucas-Odom

Judith Lucas-Odom
Judith Lucas-Odom
23000 Activity Points

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