Purdue University Graduate School
Dissertation Final JCallus edits.pdf (2.28 MB)

Incorporating Argumentation Into a General Chemistry Non-majors Course

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posted on 2022-07-27, 02:47 authored by Jessica Ahn CallusJessica Ahn Callus


Over the years it has become more common for practitioners to use the NGSS scientific practices to inform curricula at the undergraduate level. One of these practices is argumentation, the process of engaging in argument from evidence. Argumentation is an important part of the scientific process because scientists must make claims about their research and then provide justification using evidence to support those claims. While being able to argue your claim based on evidence is a common occurrence for scientists, it is rarely something students engage with in general level courses. In order to incorporate argumentation in the classroom the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) framework was adopted to develop the argumentation materials. 

In this study, aspects of the CER framework have been adapted and incorporated into the existing curriculum of a second-semester general chemistry non-majors course. The changes include lecture discussions, worksheets, and exam questions to help scaffold and facilitate students’ argumentation development. In the spring 2020 and 2021 semesters, 80 students in each course were tracked through their CER assessments to gain insight into how students construct arguments. The arguments were analyzed based on completeness, correctness, and complexity. The results show support for the effectiveness of the curriculum intervention and were used to make recommendations for instructors using the CER framework and identify future areas of research.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Chemistry

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Marcy Towns

Additional Committee Member 2

Suzanne Bart

Additional Committee Member 3

Ala Samarapungavan

Additional Committee Member 4

Shelley Claridge

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