Improving argumentation skills and content knowledge of grade-ix students through socio-scientific issues-based science teaching: A quasi-experiment research in Karachi, Pakistan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy in Education


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Scientific argumentation skills can be considered as inevitable to deal with contemporary world issues that are related to science and technology. The teaching of science through socio-scientific issues-based argumentation has been found suitable in this regard. The current study aimed to explore differences in argumentation skills, i.e., the complexity and quality of arguments of Grade-IX students when they are taught selected concepts of genetics with and without employing SSI-based argumentation in similar classes. It also aimed to seek differences in achievement on the Genetics Concept Achievement Test (G-CAT) of Grade-IX students when they are taught selected concepts of genetics with and without employing SSI-based argumentation in similar classes in the context of Karachi, Pakistan. Two intact classes were recruited from a girl’s private school. These two classes were assigned to the intervention group (IG) and control group (CG). Altogether, 61 Grade-IX students (IG=32; CG=29) participated the study. The intervention comprised six-days. For the first three days, both groups were taught the same concepts of genetics using the same lesson plan. However, for the rest of the three days, students of IG were explicitly taught through SSI-based argumentation, whereas CG was taught the same content using other interactive activities. Data were collected before and after the intervention through writing frame (complexity and quality of argumentation) and Genetics Concept Achievement Test questionnaire (content knowledge). Findings revealed both groups were evenly matched (p>0.05) on all three assessments (the complexity and quality of argumentation and content knowledge). Post-test results demonstrated IG outperformed CG with significant differences in all three domains including: complexity of argumentation (p<0.05; r=0.77); quality of argumentation (p<0.05; r=0.60); and content knowledge (p<0.05; r=0.67). Despite the small sample size, the results offer insights into the efficacy of SSI-based teaching at the secondary school level in the Pakistani context. Moreover, it has generated a model of teaching SSI-based argumentation which has implications for teachers’ professional development. The model can also be used by researchers to conduct similar studies on a more extensive and more varied sample to produce more generalisable results.

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