On the role of concept mapping assessments in today's constructivist classroom
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The purpose of this study was to explore the use of concept map assessments in freshman level general chemistry courses. Two strategies were employed in this study. The first strategy involved the creation of a web based concept mapping program capable of scoring concept maps drawn by students. The second strategy involved comparing different methods of scoring concept maps. Students enrolled in web based general chemistry course drew concept maps using the web based Concept Map Assessment Tool, CMAT. The reliability of the automated scoring in the CMAT program was tested by scoring the concept maps created in the CMAT program by hand. The results of the study indicated that scoring concept maps by hand was the same as the automated scoring of concept maps in the CMAT program. Two characteristics of concept maps serve as the basis for scoring methods. The relational character of a concept map is defined as the correctness of the propositions in the concept map. The structural character of a concept map is defined as the key features of the map, such as branches, long chains or intersecting points. The scoring method used in the CMAT program scores the relational aspects of a concept map. In this study, a second relational scoring method was used to score the concept maps drawn by students using the CMAT program, and the two sets of scores were compared. A novel structural scoring method, the Structural Complexity Index (SCI), was developed compared to the relational scoring approach of the CMAT program. The results of this study found the two relational scoring methods to score concept maps similarly under certain conditions. The SCI was found to produce a different score for concept maps than the relational scoring method employed by CMAT.