In my early years of teaching I would give students a practical report assessment task and tell them to write a conclusion that relates to the aim. I thought this was a reasonable expectation.
However, I would get conclusions handed up that read like this (this is real student work):
The prac was good. It was and well planned. The end result was kind off what I was expecting but it was still good.
Enter CER. CER is a simple yet highly effective strategy for scaffolding a conclusion that gives a logical evaluation of results with a justified conclusion. This is a strategy that works from middle years through to senior years. If used in primary years, students may only use a CE (if they do not have enough science knowledge to do the R). It can be used in science, in maths, in heath/PE or in any subject where a justified conclusion is required.
CER stands for Claim, Evidence, Reasoning.
Under Claim, students restate the hypothesis.
In Evidence, they say if the hypothesis is supported by the evidence, and summarise the results or trends in the data that provide this evidence.
Reasoning is where students give the “why” or the scientific explanation of why that evidence may have been found.
From the same experiment as the above example where “the prac was good”, now students (from the same class and year level) produce a conclusion like this:
The food with the most energy will be the cheese ball followed by the biscuit then by puffed corn. The claim is supported by the evidence. The cheese ball has the most energy with 588 kJ, whereas the puffed corn has the least energy of 42 kJ. This may be because the cheese ball and biscuit were larger and had more sugar than the puffed corn, so had more energy.