Session S25c (Tuesday, 9:30am, Thomas 104)

P441: Assessment of scientific reasoning skill development in a chemistry course for non-majors

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.


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