Tallinna Ülikool (ESTONIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 7033-7043
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Assessing students has sometimes been problematic for teachers and researchers. The instrument of assessment should be reliable and valid for the exercise and easily used for students, teachers and researchers. Nowadays more attention is paid to students’ cognitive development and meaningful learning, but researching instruments are needed for examining these parameters. Concept mapping is one of the methods, which is developed for practice and examining students’ meaningful learning and cognitive development; it is based on Ausubel’s assimilation theory. A concept map links learned concepts with prior knowledge concepts, forming the base and the new conceptual acquisition base on previous map. It is easy to make concept maps with computer programs. But there are some questions about the validity of using computer based concept maps as researching and assessing instruments. How much does the frequency of creating concept maps influence the level of the concept map? Does the frequency of using computer influence the level concept maps made by students?

The aim of this article is to examine the opportunities of using concept maps as a researching instrument.

We studied:
a) the validity of using concept mapping method as a research and assessment instrument;
b) whether concept mapping is an adequate method for assessing scientific literature.

Concept mapping method was used as an assessing instrument in Estonian large scale longitudinal study Lotegümn in 2011. 1614 students aged sixteen to seventeen from different Estonian high schools were examined with a focus question biased and given concept mapping and PISA-like three dimensional scenario-based exercises. Students solved four different science exercises. This study focuses on 343 students who solved exercise about instant cold pack. Based on the recent researches, 30 concepts about the theme were given to students and they had to construct a concept map in limited time. This study is unique, because of its large scale and it was carried out using computer programme CmapTools. Before that, there has not been any large-scale research, where the results of scientific literature have been compared with concept maps and PISA-like test. The first results are used of the general data of students’ concept maps, which are analysed using the computer programme and marked manually, and students’ answers to question list (about the frequency of creating concept maps and problems, which occurred while the study). The data pointed out, that the results of the concept maps (taxonomy score and proposition count) do not depend deeply on concept maps creating frequency or computer handling skills. For comparing results of ordinary PISA-like test, Lotegümn and concept maps, the answers to the scenario based exercise and propositions (sentences) of the concept maps were marked. Some of the results point out, that students’ answers to test and same concept based marked propositions of concept maps are in correlation.

As a result, computer based concept maps should be used more at schools and in researches, but before using the method, instructors should compose relevant and valid instructions, where the purpose of the work is considered.
Concept mapping, assessing, researching instrument, scientific literature.