Student Assessment With Cmap

Wow. I had a hard time choosing among multiple options for the 10:00-11:00 session this morning. I settled on Visualizing Student Knowledge: Teaching and Assessing with Online Concept Maps. I also wanted to attend Alan November’s Teaching Zack To Think (information literacy).

Kevin’s handout, worth using later in a teacher training.

Concept maps can be used for a variety of purposes: assessment, group thinking, planning, research.

Linear, stringlike concept maps generally indicate a less rich understanding of content.

Flowcharts, organizational, and other charts are distinguished from concept maps by their lack of proposition statements that specify the relationships between ideas.

Kevin Oliver has come up with a number of scaffolding strategies to assist students getting started with concept mapping. He presents several different levels of “fill-in,” where the student begins with a partially completed concept map and fills in either the details, the higher-order concepts, or the propositional statements. He also has a number of progressively more difficult unstructured maps. This makes a good half dozen different steps in the scaffold.

This is a wonderful example of a tech content area of which the presenter has a really detailed understanding. Repackaging and presenting similar content to a teaching faculty would be a great way to instill confidence that this instructional tool has a ton of potential and depth.

Kevin has described a number of time-consuming assessment methods involving map comparison and scoring. I wonder whether any of these methods can be automated? He admits that assessing open-ended maps can be extremely time-consuming. Taking the middle of the road — asking students to map a defined list of terms — strikes the best balance between task complexity and ease of assessment.

cmap
source: Kevin Oliver

Both this and the last presentation have relegated the description of the software tool to a sidebar in the presentation. This is a great indication of the primacy of the educational application.

Kevin’s research group used a public Cmap server in the first year and then implemented their own server for the use of multiple schools.

I love the ability to attach resources to items in the concept map. Perhaps I will do this for my presentation tomorrow!

Kevin describes “knowledge soups” — a way for students to share “claims” with each other. This may be an alternative to a wide-open wiki for reaching consensus on a declarative statement.

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