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IES Grant

Title: Improving Comprehension And Writing Through Reasoned Argumentation
Center: NCER Year: 2003
Principal Investigator: Anderson, Richard Awardee: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Program: Literacy      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $1,499,892
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305G030070

Purpose: In this project, the researchers developed two integrated environmental and public policy units for use with Collaborative Reasoning, an education intervention using intellectually engaging classroom discussion to improve students’ ability to comprehend, evaluate, and produce arguments. These units were developed to help teachers integrate Collaborative Reasoning into their content-based courses. After completing the development of the units, the researchers carried out a pilot study to determine the initial efficacy of the revised intervention.

Structured Abstract


The researchers are comparing the effects of student participation in classrooms where Collaborative Reasoning is introduced with classrooms continuing to carry out their normal educational practices. Pairs of fourth and fifth grade classrooms of students with similar backgrounds are being randomly assigned to have one classroom initiate Collaborative Reasoning while the other classroom continues as before. The study sample includes 32 fourth- and fifth-grade teachers and approximately 1,400 children attending rural and urban schools serving families with a variety of income levels and a diversity of racial and ethnic backgrounds. The researchers are measuring and analyzing student performance using a variety of outcome measures, including the number of satisfactory arguments, counter arguments, rebuttals, uses of text evidence, and the uses of argument stratagems in students' written essays; their responses to questions on a standardized reading test; a test of critical thinking ability; and, interviews in which students rate their own interest in reasoning and argument, and express a preference for either collaborative reasoning or conventional classroom discussion.

Related IES Projects: Mindful Instruction of Nonmainstream Children (R305A080347)

Products and Publications

ERIC Citations: Find available citations in ERIC for this award here.

Select Publications:

Book chapters

Jadallah, M., Miller, B., Anderson, R.C., Nguyen-Jahiel, K., Archodidou, A., Zhang, J., and Grabow, K. (2009). Collaborative Reasoning About a Science and Public Policy Issue. In M. McKeown, and L. Kucan (Eds.), Bringing Reading Researchers to Life: Essays in Honor of Isabel L. Beck (pp. 170–193). New York: Guilford Press.

Nguyen-Jahiel, K., Anderson, R., Waggoner, M., and Rowell, B. (2007). Using Literature Discussions to Reason Through Real Life Dilemmas: A Journey Taken by one Teacher and her Fourth-Grade Students. In R. Horowitz (Ed.), Talking Texts: How Speech and Writing Interact in School Learning (pp. 187–206). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Reznitskaya, A., Anderson, R.C., Dong, T., Li, Y., Kim, I.H., and Kim, S.-Y. (2008). Learning to Think Well: Applications of Argument Schema Theory, Volume 2. In C.C. Block, and S. Parris (Eds.), Comprehension Instruction: Research-Based Best Practices (pp. 196–213). New York: Guilford Publishing.

Journal articles

Dong, T., Anderson, R.C., Kim, I., and Li, Y. (2008). Collaborative Reasoning in China and Korea. Reading Research Quarterly, 43(4): 400–424.

Jadallah, M., Anderson, R. C., Nguyen-Jahiel, K., Miller, B. W., Kim, I. H., Kuo, L. J., ... & Wu, X. (2011). Influence of a Teacher's Scaffolding Moves During Child-Led Small-Group Discussions. American Educational Research Journal, 48(1), 194–230.

Li, Y., Anderson, R.C., Nguyen-Jahiel, K., Dong, T., Archodidou, A., Kim, I., Kuo, L.J., Clark, A.M., Wu, X., Jadallah, M., and Miller, B. (2007). Emergent Leadership in Children's Discussion Groups. Cognition and Instruction, 25(1): 75–111.

Lin, T.J., and Anderson, R.C. (2008). Reflections on Collaborative Discourse, Argumentation, and Learning. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33: 443–448.

Lin, T., Anderson, R.C., Hummel, J.E., Jadallah, M., Miller, B.W., Nguyen-Jahiel, K., and . . . Dong, T. (2012). Children's Use Of Analogy During Collaborative Reasoning. Child Development, 83 (4):1429–1443.

Lin, T. J., Jadallah, M., Anderson, R. C., Baker, A. R., Nguyen-Jahiel, K., Kim, I. H., ... and Wu, X. (2015). Less is More: Teachers' Influence During Peer Collaboration. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(2), 609.

Reznitskaya, A., and Anderson, R.C. (2007). Assessing Argumentation in Rich, Natural Contexts. Informal Logic, 26: 175–198.

Reznitskaya, A., Anderson, R.C., and Kuo, L.J. (2007). Teaching and Learning Argumentation. Elementary School Journal, 107(5): 449–472.

Reznitskaya, A., Kuo, L.J., Clark, A.M., Miller, B., Jadallah, M., Anderson, R.C., and Nguyen-Jahiel, K. (2009). Collaborative Reasoning: A Dialogic Approach to Group Discussions. Cambridge Journal of Education, 39(1): 29–48.

Reznitskaya, A., Kuo, L.J., Glina, M., and Anderson, R.C. (2009). Measuring Argumentative Reasoning: What's Behind the Numbers?. Learning and Individual Differences, 19(2): 219–224.

Wu, X., Anderson, R.C., Nguyen-Jahiel, K., and Miller, B. (2013). Enhancing Motivation and Engagement Through Collaborative Discussion. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105 (3): 622–632