Predicting Components of Argumentative Writing and Achievement Gains in a General Chemistry Course for Nonmajor College Students

Claudia Aguirre-Mendez, Ying Chih Chen, Takeshi Terada, Ratrapee Techawitthayachinda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Argumentative writing advances students' understanding of scientific concepts, ability to communicate, and scientific literacy. However, it remains unclear which components of argumentative writing drive such advancement. Further, most studies on argumentative writing have focused on students majoring in science, rather than in the nonsciences. The purpose of this study was to determine which components of argumentative writing are predictors of academic achievement in a general chemistry course designed for nonscience majors. The participants included 163 undergraduates at a public university. The quality of argumentative writing was positively and significantly correlated with student academic achievement. Five components of argumentative writing were predictors of success on student achievement tests: Accuracy of the claim, relationship between claim and question, relationship between claim and evidence, use of multiple modes to represent an argument, and the degree to which writing style aligns with the writing type desired. Therefore, results from this study would allow teachers to modify their approaches to emphasize components of argumentative writing that can predict student academic achievement. Results from open-ended questionnaires reveal that students viewed argumentative writing as a tool that improves their conceptual understanding, advances their epistemic understanding of an argument, and can be applied in their future careers. Implications of this pedagogy for chemistry teaching and learning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2045-2056
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Volume97
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 11 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chemical Education Research
  • Communication/Writing
  • First-Year Undergraduate/General
  • Learning Theories
  • Nonmajor Courses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Education

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