Developing an Initial Learning Progression for the Use of Evidence in Decision-Making Contexts

  • Beatriz Bravo-TorijaEmail author
  • María-Pilar Jiménez-Aleixandre


This paper outlines an initial learning progression for the use of evidence to support scientific arguments in the context of decision-making. Use of evidence is a central feature of knowledge evaluation and, therefore, of argumentation. The proposal is based on the literature on argumentation and use of evidence in decision-making contexts. The objective is to develop a construct map describing a trajectory of evidence use in a decision-making context. The levels in the initial learning progression are characterised by students’ performance in practice. The framework is applied to a multiple-case study in 10th grade (66 students), structured around a marine resource management task. Data included audio and video recordings, as well as students’ written artefacts. Five levels of complexity in student performance are described; on the lowest level, students are able to identify and extract information in response to a problem and recognise general features in a set of data; on the uppermost level, they are able to articulate arguments by synthesising evidence from multiple sources and evaluate options based on evidence and scientific content. The framework also shows potential for recognising students’ difficulties in identifying and integrating data and evidence in their justifications and in drawing from domain knowledge to interpret evidence. Implications for educational practice are discussed.


Argumentation Use of evidence Learning progressions Scientific competence Ecology learning 



This study was supported by the Spanish Ministerio y Competitividad (MINECO) and the research groups RODA and BEAGLE (IUCA).


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Copyright information

© Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beatriz Bravo-Torija
    • 1
    Email author
  • María-Pilar Jiménez-Aleixandre
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Didáctica Específicas, Facultad de Formación de Profesorado y EducaciónUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Didáctica de las Ciencias Experimentales, Facultad de EducaciónUniversidade de Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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