Chemistry Education Research and Practice,2017年18(1):127-150 ISSN：1109-4028
Deng, Yang;Wang, Houxiong
[Wang, Houxiong; Deng, Yang] Cent China Normal Univ, Dept Chem, Wuhan 430079, Hubei, Peoples R China.
[Deng, Y; Wang, HX] C;Cent China Normal Univ, Dept Chem, Wuhan 430079, Hubei, Peoples R China.
Attending to practice has become a significant topic in science education today. As scientific argumentation is a typical form of scientific practice as well as an important educational practice, more and more attention has been paid to it by science education researchers. Evaluating students' competence in scientific argumentation is one of the most important research topics, but in China, science researchers seldom concentrate on it because the diverse educational values of scientific argumentation need to be further understood. The present study sought to examine the performance of Chinese students participating in written scientific argumentation in the context of chemistry. After clarifying the conception of scientific argumentation in science education, and comparing the evaluation criteria in domestic and international science education research, written scientific argumentation tasks in the context of chemistry were designed and criteria for their evaluation were constructed and improved. In total five tasks were designed for evaluation. All of the five tasks were aimed at evaluating students' competence of selecting (or putting forward) claims, evidence and warrants, in addition, two tasks investigated the competence of refuting arguments. The general criteria for evaluation was constructed according to the four dimensions of scientific argumentation, they were the structure components, the content quality, the logic of justification and language. For each task, content criteria and performance criteria for evaluation were constructed. After analysis and improvement of the criteria based on two pilot tests and the Rasch model, it was obvious that the criteria met the standards, effectively and credibly, for this study on the assessment of students' competence in written scientific argumentation. The number of students who participated in the formal test was 578 (304 males and 274 females). Through this kind of evaluation, this study found that the students' competence in written scientific argumentation was generally weak, and was influenced by some factors. Specifically, firstly, the students could put forward claims and evidence more easily than warrants and rebuttals. Secondly, the specific tasks had an influence on the performance of the students in written scientific argumentation. In regard to other factors, gender did not influence the students' competence in written scientific argumentation, but the grade level and school level were key factors. The students' competence in written scientific argumentation at grade level four and three other school grade levels were significantly different. Finally, some changes to the Chinese chemistry curriculum were proposed based on the results of this study.