About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 302-310
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain

ASSESSING STUDENTS` BIOLOGY KNOWLEDGE WITH CONCEPT MAPPING DURING HIGH SCHOOL

P. Reiska, A. Möllits

Tallinn University (ESTONIA)
The unpopularity of learning the natural sciences is a problem in most countries. Poor motivation leads to a low interest in choosing science and technology careers among young people. Today’s science education doesn’t support very well achieving society needs. There is a need for new approaches to both learning and assessment in teaching school science.

The aim of this study is to determine how concept mapping techniques can be used for assessing students’ knowledge in Biology. The study has following research question: How do students construct biology-based concept maps during high school studies?

Concept mapping method was developed in 1972 by Joseph Novak and his research team while they looked changes in the students' understanding of science concepts. This method is based on David Ausubel's (1968) theory of meaningful learning which says:
(1) learning takes place only when new knowledge is associated with already existing ones into a logical system;
(2) reorganization and integration of old knowledge with a new information facilitates meaningful learning.

To find out changes students` knowledge in biology during high school the outcomes of a large-scale study LoTeGym was used. In the LoTeGym study PISA-like scenario-based tasks related to biology and concept mapping with a biology specific focus question were used as data collection instruments. The LoTeGym study was carried out during 2012 and 2014 in 42 Estonian high schools. For the current aim, 374 concept maps from 10th and 12th grade students were analysed.

The students' concept maps were analysed with computer, based on three characteristics: size, structure and quality. The findings from student performance showed that concept maps composed in grade 12 were on a higher level in all three characteristics (size, structure and quality) than those from students in grade 10. The results showed a statistically significant increase in the number of propositions, especially in the number of high quality propositions. The structure of the maps didn’t change so much – the increase of density and the taxonomy level was significant, but not high.

Positive result was, that the quality measures, such like the number of high quality propositions increased during the high school studies. Negative was, that the number of incorrect propositions did not decrease.

The results of the study demonstrate that concept mapping can be used to assess components of students` scientific literacy, such as understanding of the specific concepts and changes in their knowledge structure. On the one hand the concept mapping method helps to identify students´ misconceptions at an early stage and on the other hand, it helps to make better links between specific subject concepts and everyday life.

Based on the results of the study, it is recommended that teachers use more variable teaching and assessment methods, such as concept mapping.
@InProceedings{REISKA2015ASS,
author = {Reiska, P. and M{\"{o}}llits, A.},
title = {ASSESSING STUDENTS` BIOLOGY KNOWLEDGE WITH CONCEPT MAPPING DURING HIGH SCHOOL},
series = {8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-2657-6},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {302-310}}
TY - CONF
AU - P. Reiska AU - A. Möllits
TI - ASSESSING STUDENTS` BIOLOGY KNOWLEDGE WITH CONCEPT MAPPING DURING HIGH SCHOOL
SN - 978-84-608-2657-6/2340-1095
PY - 2015
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2015
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2015 Proceedings
SP - 302
EP - 310
ER -
P. Reiska, A. Möllits (2015) ASSESSING STUDENTS` BIOLOGY KNOWLEDGE WITH CONCEPT MAPPING DURING HIGH SCHOOL, ICERI2015 Proceedings, pp. 302-310.
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