Above Image: A tomato seedling with a trail of seeds leading to a ripe tomato
What is it?
The Conclusions-Evidence-Reasoning (C-E-R) learning strategy provides students with a framework in which to use evidence from an inquiry process together with inference and reason to develop conclusions about an inquiry.
Why use it?
- To provide students the opportunity to draw conclusions from data gathered through an inquiry.
- To support the development of critical thinking skills, such as reasoning, inferring, justifying and consolidating.
- To integrate literacy skills, in particular those associated with developing oral and written explanations, arguments and conclusions.
How do I use it?
- Before using this strategy, introduce its purpose to the students and provide a structured example to teach and model expected behaviours. For guided examples see the Tools and Templates section.
- Provide each student (or student group) with a blank Conclusions-Evidence-Reasoning (C-E-R) Template to work with.
- Using the C-E-R Template, students:
- Write a conclusion(s) which should answer the question (or testable question) that was asked for the exploration or inquiry. The conclusion should describe the relationship between the dependent and independent variables.
Data becomes evidence when it supports a conclusion (or a claim).
- Describe the specific evidence that supports the conclusion(s) made. Evidence may be derived from qualitative or quantitative data, raw data, or summarized results in charts, tables or graphs. Evidence should be:
- Sufficient (enough to support the conclusion)
- Appropriate (actually does support the conclusion)
- Outline the reasoning that ties the conclusion to the evidence and answers the question, “How does your evidence support your conclusions?” Scientific reasoning involves connecting the evidence to the conclusions and connecting these to known scientific rules or principals. (see the Tools and Templates section for an exemplar C-E-R)
- Have individual students or small groups of students share their completed C-E-R templates with each other and justify their conclusions, evidence and reasoning.
Tips for success
- Have students new to this strategy practice making conclusions by using inquiry evidence that clearly supports a specific conclusion.
- If a conclusion is not obvious at the end of an inquiry process, have students start with analyzing their evidence. Then have students make their conclusion(s), and go on to connect their evidence to their conclusion(s) through reasoning.
- Conclusions-Evidence-Reasoning could be done individually or collaboratively.
- Students could be grouped into common conclusions groups and collaborate on providing evidence and reasoning.
Conclusions-Evidence-Reasoning - Guided Practice
Conclusions-Evidence-Reasoning - Exemplar
Conclusions-Evidence-Reasoning - Template