Exploring the relationship between students' level of content knowledge and their ability to engage in scientific argumentation using structural equation modeling
The release of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in 2013 introduced science standards that are rich in core ideas as well as science and engineering practices. The NGSS views science content and science practice as closely interconnected to each other. The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between students' level of science content and their ability to engage in the practice of scientific argumentation. Specifically, this study teases apart content knowledge into both domain-general and discipline specific knowledge. To this end, this study explores the following research questions. (1) What is the relationship between students' content knowledge and their ability to engage in scientific argumentation? (2) How do the different dimensions of argumentation vary in difficulty? To explore these research questions, factor analysis, Item Response Theory, and Structural Equation Modeling are used. The results indicate the there is a stronger relationship between discipline specific knowledge and argumentation. This study contributes to the understanding of the connection between content knowledge and argumentation has the potential to inform and improve argumentation instruction, which ultimately can provide students with more authentic science experiences in the classroom
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