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.
- Chemical Education Research
- First-Year Undergraduate/General
- Learning Theories
- Nonmajor Courses
ASJC Scopus subject areas