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Bauer, Elisabeth; Sailer, Michael; Kiesewetter, Jan; Fischer, Martin R.; Fischer, Frank (2022): Diagnostic argumentation in teacher education: Making the case for justification, disconfirmation, and transparency. Frontiers in Education, 7. ISSN 2504-284X

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Research on diagnosing in teacher education has primarily emphasized the accuracy of diagnostic judgments and has explained it in terms of factors such as diagnostic knowledge. However, approaches to scientific argumentation and information processing suggest differentiating between diagnostic judgment and diagnostic argumentation: When making accurate diagnostic judgments, the underlying reasoning can remain intuitive, whereas diagnostic argumentation requires controlled and explicable reasoning about a diagnostic problem to explain the reasoning in a comprehensible and persuasive manner. We suggest three facets of argumentation for conceptualizing diagnostic argumentation, which are yet to be addressed in teacher education research: justification of a diagnosis with evidence, disconfirmation of differential diagnoses, and transparency regarding the processes of evidence generation. Therefore, we explored whether preservice teachers’ diagnostic argumentation and diagnostic judgment might represent different diagnostic skills. We also explored whether justification, disconfirmation, and transparency should be considered distinct subskills of preservice teachers’ diagnostic argumentation. We reanalyzed data of 118 preservice teachers who learned about students’ learning difficulties with simulated cases. For each student case, the preservice teachers had to indicate a diagnostic judgment and provide a diagnostic argumentation. We found that preservice teachers’ diagnostic argumentation seldom involved all three facets, suggesting a need for more specific training. Moreover, the correlational results suggested that making accurate diagnostic judgments and formulating diagnostic argumentation may represent different diagnostic skills and that justification, disconfirmation, and transparency may be considered distinct subskills of diagnostic argumentation. The introduced concepts of justification, disconfirmation, and transparency may provide a starting point for developing standards in diagnostic argumentation in teacher education.

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