Fostering scientific understanding and epistemic beliefs through judgments of promisingness
The evaluation of promisingness is central to knowledge building and knowledge creation but remains largely unexplored. As part of a design-based research program to support promisingness judgments, the present study implemented an intervention in a sixth grade science class, with the goal of exploring the potential of promisingness judgments to foster scientific understanding and epistemic beliefs. Aided by a Promising Ideas Tool and pedagogical supports designed for this intervention, students explored the concept of promisingness, judged the promisingness of their community ideas, and engaged in iterative cycles of idea refinement. Results indicated that students were capable of improving their understanding of promisingness and making promisingness judgments deemed sensible by domain experts. The conceptual understanding and epistemic beliefs displayed by students improved over the course of the intervention, and such improvement happened in tandem with students’ understanding of promisingness. The implications of this exploratory study and future research are discussed.