Journal of Undergraduate Research


LCTSR, academic success, STEM degrees, reasoning skills


Life Sciences




The Lawson’s Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning1(LCTSR) is a content-independent measure of scientific reasoning abilities including conservation, proportional reasoning, identifying and controlling variables, probabilistic reasoning, correlational reasoning, and hypothetico-deductive reasoning. A relationship has been seen between scores on this test and a student’s decision to major in a STEM degree2 as well as with their performance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM, courses3. Thus, the LCTSR can be a clever tool in predicting a student’s performance and persistence in STEM degrees. This test, however, has more potential than just predicting STEM success; we hypothesize that it may serve as a predictor for all academic success. In preliminary research, we have seen evidence that at least some of these reasoning skills do indeed transfer between disciplines as disparate as social studies, art, and music (data unpublished). If reasoning skills correlate to success in STEM fields, then is it possible that reasoning skills could predict performance in other academic areas? This is our research question.

Included in

Biology Commons