Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Summer 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Strategic Leadership Studies


T. Dary Erwin

Karen A. Ford

John D. Hathcoat


Argument education can play an important role in higher education for leadership development and responding to increasing calls for post-secondary accountability. But to do so, argumentation teachers, scholars, and practitioners need to develop a clearer definition and research agenda for the purposes of teaching and assessing argumentation. The research conducted here contributes to this project by first establishing a definitional construct and observable behaviors associated with learning and practicing argumentation. Second, an argument education assessment instrument was created based off of the literature-supported definition of argumentation. Third, debate and argument education subject matter experts reviewed the definition, behaviors, and assessment instrument. Fourth, the newly developed instrument was administered to undergraduate college students over the course of three studies (n=949) to collect evidence testing whether the instrument may be used in a reliable and valid way to assess the learning of argumentation. Finally, the author concluded that the data suggests that the instrument may be used for assessing argument education, but further research is needed to improve the evidence for reliability and validity of the instrument’s use. Furthermore, the data collected from assessing argument education provides important implications for how argumentation is defined and assessed within an educational context and what role argument education may play in leadership development.



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