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Analyzing and Evaluating Data: Engaging in Argument from Evidence

All AP® science students are expected to engage in 7 science practices, which are listed in each course syllabus. These practices are deeply rooted in science and engineering concepts. Making predictions, justifying claims, and evaluating evidence are all practices necessary for the generation and evaluation of scientific theories and design solutions. These practices also require proper organization of data and evidence.

The Next Generation Science Standards* (NGSS) delineates 6 specific skills under the practice Engaging in Argument from Evidence. These are skills students should master to effectively engage in scientific argumentation. Proficient scientific argumentation leads to theory evaluation and refinement.


Engaging in Argument from Evidence (High School 9–12)

  • Compare and evaluate competing arguments or design solutions in light if currently accepted explanations, new evidence, limitations (e.g., trade-offs), constraints, and ethical issues.
  • Evaluate the claims, evidence, and/or reasoning behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments.
  • Respectfully provide and/or receive critiques on scientific arguments by probing reasoning and evidence and challenging ideas and conclusions, responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, and determining what additional information is required to resolve contradictions.
  • Construct, use, and/or present and oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence.
  • Make and defend a claim based on evidence about the natural world or the effectiveness of a design solution that reflects scientific knowledge, and student-generated evidence.
  • Evaluate competing design solutions to a real-world problem based on scientific ideas and principles, empirical evidence, and logical arguments regarding relevant factors (e.g. economic, societal, environmental, ethical considerations).

These graphic organizers can help students organize data to better assess a scientific claim or build a theory:

*Next Generation Science Standards® (NGSS) is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of, and do not endorse, these products.

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