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ERIC Number: EJ1086975
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 86
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Effects of Critical Discussions on Middle School Students' Written Historical Arguments
Wissinger, Daniel R.; De La Paz, Susan
Journal of Educational Psychology, v108 n1 p43-59 Jan 2016
In this experimental study, 151 middle school students explored 3 historical controversies, first reading and discussing primary source documents in groups, then writing arguments on their own. Students were either randomly assigned to an experimental condition, using argumentative schemes and critical questions as guides during discussions, or to a comparison condition in which a traditional set of questions was used to guide discussions. Students in both conditions read the same historical controversies and used the same text structure heuristic to better compare reading and writing outcomes after students participated in discussion. The findings after instruction indicate comparable reading comprehension and comparable composing skill on general writing measures across conditions. Importantly, the findings also indicate disciplinary benefits for students in the experimental condition in terms of their ability to learn historical content and regarding the quality of students' historical reasoning in their written arguments. Argument schemes and critical questions appeared particularly helpful in facilitating students' substantiation of claims and development of rebuttals.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education; Grade 7
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Graduate Management Admission Test; Wechsler Individual Achievement Test