Justin Carmel, Ellen Yezierski (Miami University, USA)
It is the aim of a liberal education to develop students’ intellectual and practical skills for use the real-world, one being critical thinking. In chemistry the most-valued dimension of critical thinking is scientific reasoning (SR): students’ ability to examine data and make inferences about what the outcome is or should be. This study examines students’ SR skills in a chemistry class for non-majors. The Lawson Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning (LCTSR) administered pre- and post-course generated data describing the students’ Piagetian developmental level, SR ability, and growth in SR as a result of the course. Constructivist theory guided this study, as students develop SR skills through experiences demanding skills related to proportional, probabilistic, correlational, hypothetico-deductive reasoning, control of variables, and mass/volume conservation. Data analyses include investigations of growth and regression of demographic factors on SR score. Results along with possible classroom methods to improve SR ability will be presented.