What is a CER?

What is a CER?

The claim-evidence-reasoning (CER) framework is a scaffold for students to practice their argumentative writing skills.

The CER framework pushes students into inquiry so they can evaluate the authenticity of any claim that is made. It also allows students to articulate coherent explanations for their investigations.


Claims are common in all kinds of literature. They help keep stories engaging, add depth to characterizations, and establish an author’s unique perspective on a subject.

Claims can also be used in academic writing to support a larger argument. For example, in A Quick Guide to Cancer Epidemiology, authors Paolo Boffetta, Stefania Boccia, and Carlo La Vecchia argue that tobacco smoking is the main cause of human cancer worldwide.

CER is a framework that helps students provide scientific explanations in logical and well-organized ways. The CER framework consists of three parts: Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning.


The CER or claim-evidence-reasoning is a scientific process in which students are posed with a question, observation, or phenomena and then have to make a claim, provide evidence to support it, and explain the reasoning behind it. This process requires analytical thinking and helps develop their argumentative writing skills in a logical and well-organized way.

CER is a good fit for many science classrooms, and you can introduce it in a number of ways. For example, posing questions in Socratic Seminars is an excellent way to get the conversation going. Using the CER Graphic Organizer is another great way to get students practicing this strategy while developing their writing skills.


The reasoning behind a cer’s claim is what connects the data (tables, charts, graphs, observations) to the statement they are making. This reasoning can be based on a principle or scientific rule or a general theory that they’ve been studying in class.

CER teaches students to think about their answers to questions in a different way than other types of lab reports. Students are posed with a question and directed to make a claim, provide evidence, and explain their reasoning in a way that is understandable and meaningful.

The CER process can take some time for students to get used to, so it’s important to start with a clear introductory lesson. This can be done in a classroom discussion or by using the CER framework as part of a lab activity.


Inquiry is a process that involves asking questions, making predictions, and collaborating with others to explore a topic. It also includes analysis, interpreting data and making connections between prior knowledge and new information and experiences.

The inquiry process typically begins with an open question, such as, “Why is the air cool on a hot day?” Students then investigate and evaluate evidence to reach a conclusion that answers their inquiry question.

During this stage, students should make logical predictions based on their observations and previous knowledge. They should also be able to provide valid reasons for their conclusions.

In addition, they should be able to design ways to test their predictions to see if they were accurate. This is an important skill to develop during a discipline-based inquiry.

The inquiry process can be a challenging and rewarding experience for students, especially when they are able to use critical thinking skills and creative problem-solving abilities to solve an open question. This type of learning is a great way for students to become better informed about their subject.

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