This is the first blog post of an ongoing series to support integrating the CER framework into your classroom for students. In this introduction you will examine what the CER framework is. The following posts will dive deeper into each part of the CER framework and what it looks like in the primary, intermediate and secondary classrooms.
Claim – Evidence – Reasoning (CER), is a model or framework that allows your students to show what they know as they go through the learning process. All kids are innately curious and easily can engage in discovery. All you have to do is watch them as they explore their world, play at the playground, or even visit centers in the classroom. But too often as learning progresses these natural characteristics dissipate.
The CER framework, however, supports driving a student’s curiosity as a method to learning and communicating their discoveries. Unfortunately, these strategies are not always introduced to students until upper elementary, when they should be integrated as part of the learning process and inquiry right away. In addition, the CER framework is seen as a science specific strategy, but it applies across contents and is embedded in the Common Core standards for literacy and mathematics.
So, what is the CER framework?
The CER framework is centered around a question or phenomena that is either asked by the teacher or even better, generated by the student(s). Then like anything students are provided the opportunity to explore and investigate the question through activities which may include text, experiments, examining data tables or graphs, by making observations, etc.
The three major parts of the CER framework is: Claim, Evidence and Reasoning.
- Students generate an answer to the question being explored
- Generally is only 1 specific sentence or statement
- Is based on text, data, lab, specific to the question
- Is data that comes directly from text, tables, graphs, lab, etc
- Can be qualitative or quantitative as appropriate for the topic/question
- May come from multiple sources depending on the student level
- Is not opinion based or based on experience or background
- Explains the how and why the evidence supports the claim
- Uses definitions and/or rules or principles
- Connects the evidence to the claim
While, on the surface this may seem simple for students it will take modeling and practice for students to bring their thinking alive. It is important for you, the teacher, to plan on this being an ongoing process that is embedded throughout your lessons. One misconception that teachers often have is that they taught it and modeled it, but students still haven’t mastered it. While students might understand the process, they are continuously building new learning which means there will be some struggles with new content and concepts, as well as the development of language from each progressive year. Therefore the CER framework needs to be viewed as an ongoing cycle in the learning process. Mastery is an ever evolving moving target, just as a learning content occurs in a learning progression.