, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 1763-1783
Date: 27 Nov 2012

Students’ Written Arguments in General Chemistry Laboratory Investigations

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This study aimed to examine the written arguments developed by college freshman students using the Science Writing Heuristic approach in inquiry-based general chemistry laboratory classrooms and its relationships with students’ achievement in chemistry courses. Fourteen freshman students participated in the first year of the study while 19 freshman students participated in the second year of the study. Two frameworks, an analytical and a holistic argument framework, were developed to evaluate the written argument generated by students. The analytical framework scored each argument component separately and allocated a Total Argument score while the holistic framework evaluated the arguments holistically. Three hundred and sixty-eight samples from 33 students were evaluated. Stepwise regression analyses revealed that the evidence and the claims–evidence relationship components were identified as the most important predictors of the Total Argument and the Holistic Argument scores. Students’ argument scores were positively correlated with their achievement, as measured by the final grade received for the general chemistry laboratory and the general chemistry lecture course.