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Evaluate a Claim

Evaluate a Claim

Rating the Claim

The students are near the end of their evidence gathering and evaluating, and they are attaching the pieces of evidence to the claim. Visually, they are beginning to see the pro and con evidence stacking up to help them make a decision as to whether the claim can be supported. The teacher discusses the Support versus Quality ratings that line up next to the claim. Both must be taken into consideration when weighing the evidence. If a really poor-quality piece of evidence strongly supports a claim, should the evidence be disregarded? What about a lot of so-so support? How do we weigh quantity over quality? What happens when a jury has to make a decision about whether someone is guilty or innocent? What are some of the things they consider? The teacher and students discuss these kinds of questions before they create a rubric for rating the claim. The students come up with the following rating system:

  • One star: Considering all of the evidence and the quality of that evidence, this claim has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be untrue.
  • Two stars: Circumstantial or minor evidence does seem to support this claim, but not enough to make a decision. “Reasonable doubt” exists.
  • Three stars: The evidence provided does support the claim, but there are still uncertainties as to whether that support really proves the claim is true. This rating is the result of a “hung jury.”
  • Four stars: There is room for interpretation or other possibility, but considering all of the evidence and the quality of that evidence, the claim is strongly supported and is most likely true and/or valid.
  • Five stars: Considering all the evidence and the quality of that evidence, it is quite obvious that this claim is true and valid.