Research and Teaching: The Development of a Novel Measure of Scientific Reasoning Growth Among College Freshman—The Constructive Inquiry Science Reasoning Skills Test

by: Jeff Weld, Matt Stier, and Jill McNew-Birren

The development of students’ science reasoning abilities is a goal of science education. Researchers measure science reasoning using a variety of instruments, each with limitations and restrictions. In this study, contrasting instructional modes were analyzed for students’ science reasoning development over the course of a semester. A novel instrument was developed for this. The Constructive Inquiry Science Reasoning Skills (CISRS) test improves on other reasoning instruments in that it is (a) independent of mathematical or manipulative skills, (b) relevant without being dependent on prior content, (c) easily administered to a large group of students in a short period of time, (d) developmentally appropriate to the user, and (e) discerning of reasoning abilities. Students enrolled in contrasting styles of introductory biology courses were tested using the CISRS test. By this measure, students in the inquiry-based course made encouraging gains in reasoning ability similar to that of their peers in the major course.


Type Journal ArticlePub Date 3/1/2011Stock # jcst11_040_04_101Volume 040Issue 04

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