448050911201448 Remarkably Simple Steps for Using Science CER Writing as an Assessment | Polka Dots and Protons - Interactive Science Notebooks & More

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Remarkably Simple Steps for Using Science CER Writing as an Assessment


When I first heard about CER writing in science I wondered how to make it simple for students. It seemed complicated and my students were overwhelmed. When I realized that a strong paragraph was all we needed for success and I had a clear rubric, it became simple. Here is everything you need to know...
I love how providing evidence in writing a consistent theme in ELA, science, and all other classes. In working to teach and practice CER writing with my students, I have found that is a great way to assess students' understanding and application of scientific concepts. The Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning (CER) framework is a powerful tool to evaluate comprehension but also encourages critical thinking. We'll explore the remarkably simple steps for integrating Science CER writing into your assessment plan.

Step 1: Understand the CER Framework

Before diving into implementation, it's crucial to have a solid grasp of the CER framework. Essentially, CER is a structured method for presenting a scientific explanation.

Students begin with a Claim, a statement answering a specific question. This claim is supported by Evidence, which can be data, observations, or information from experiments. Lastly, students provide Reasoning, connecting the evidence to the claim by explaining the scientific principles or concepts involved.

Would you like to see a student handout with an editable rubric? Click HERE!

Step 2: Select Appropriate Topics and Questions

Choosing the right topics and questions is fundamental to a successful CER assessment. Align the prompts with your learning objectives and ensure they encourage critical thinking. Consider real-world applications or phenomena relevant to the students' lives, making the exercise engaging and meaningful.

Step 3: Model the Process

Begin by modeling the CER process. Walk your students through a sample CER exercise, breaking down each component. Emphasize the importance of clarity, logical progression, and relevance. A well-crafted model provides a template for students to follow in their own work. If you'd like a FREEBIE to get started, click here and get these handouts delivered to your inbox when you sign up for my newsletter.

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Step 4: Provide Clear Guidelines

I like to provide my students with a few vocabulary words to incorporate. I also provide a simple rubric so they can see how their work will be graded. I print the rubric on the back of the CER question page if I am printing out the question. This clarity ensures that students understand the criteria for success.

Step 5: Foster Collaboration

Encourage collaboration among students, fostering a supportive environment where they can discuss and refine their ideas. I like to start by having students write their claim on a whiteboard so it can be easily adjusted. Group activities, peer reviews, and class discussions can enhance learning especially while students are just starting out.

Step 6: Evaluate and Provide Constructive Feedback

Evaluate CER assignments systematically, providing constructive feedback that focuses on both content and communication skills. Use rubrics to streamline the assessment process and ensure consistency. Offer specific suggestions for improvement, empowering students to refine their scientific reasoning.

Incorporating the CER framework into science assessments is a remarkably simple yet powerful way to gauge students' understanding and application of scientific concepts. By following these steps, educators can create a structured and engaging learning environment that not only evaluates knowledge but also cultivates critical thinking and effective communication skills. Innovative assessment methods like CER writing ensure that students are well-prepared for the challenges of the future.