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To address the need for reform in undergraduate science education a new instructional model called Argument-Driven Inquiry (ADI) was developed and then implemented in a undergraduate chemistry course at a community college in the southeastern United States (Sampson, Walker, & Grooms, 2009; Walker, Sampson, & Zimmerman, in press). The ADI instructional model is designed to give a more central place to argumentation and the role of argument in the social construction of scientific knowledge. This research investigated the growth in the quality of the student generated arguments and the scientific argumentation that took place over the course of a semester. Students enrolled in two sections of General Chemistry I laboratory at the community college participated in this study. The students worked in collaborative groups of three or four. The students were given a variation of the same performance task three times during the semester in order to measure individual ability to use evidence and justify their choice of evidence with appropriate rationale. Five ADI investigations took place during the semester and the laboratory reports for each were collected from each student and the argument section of each report was scored. All the student groups were video recorded five times during the semester as they generated and evaluated arguments and the quality of the group argumentation was assessed using an instrument called the Assessment of Scientific Argumentation in the Classroom (ASAC) observation protocol. As time was the independent variable in this study a repeated measure ANOVA was used to evaluate the significance of student improvement in each area (argumentation, written argument and performance task) over the course of the semester (Trochim, 1999). In addition, a multiple regression analysis was conducted to evaluate how well the ASAC scores predicted individual scores on both the performance task and the written arguments (Green & Salkind, 2005). There was significant growth over the course of the semester in all three measures, performance-based assessment, written argument and oral argumentation. There also was a significant correlation between written and oral arguments that was used to generate a linear model using oral argumentation as a predictor of written argument. The results of this suggest that the use of an integrated instructional model such as ADI can have a positive impact on the quality of the arguments students include in their investigation reports, the argumentation they engage in during lab activities, and their overall performance on tasks that require them to develop and support a valid conclusion with genuine evidence.
A Dissertation Submitted to the School of Teacher Education in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Florida State University
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