A Coherent and Integrated Framework Using Concept Maps for Various Educational Assessment Functions
Evangelia Gouli, Agoritsa Gogoulou, Maria Grigoriadou, University of Athens, Greece
JITE-Research Volume 2, Number 1, ISSN 1539-3585 Publisher: Informing Science Institute
Educational assessment is a process of drawing reasonable inferences about what students know on the basis of evidence derived from observation of what they say, do or make in selected situations. Educational assessment does not exist in isolation, but should be aligned with instruction in order to support and enhance learning. Assessment functions may be varied, ranging from a need to identify the students’ prior knowledge to a need to draw conclusions about their overall understanding of the subject matter. In this paper, a coherent and integrated framework for educational assessment purposes, serving various assessment functions, is presented. The framework named AssessToLearn uses concept maps as the main tool of the assessment toolbox and provides a basis for the design of assessment activities following a three-step process (i) Ascertaining the Students’ Prior Knowledge - Activating Knowledge, (ii) Promoting Knowledge Construction & Identifying Conceptual Changes - Constructing & Enriching Knowledge, and (iii) Assessing Knowledge Construction - Refining Knowledge. The assessment functions of each step are accomplished through assessment activities, which may include one or more sub-activities and/or assessment items addressing specific assessment outcomes. The assessment items may be implemented by employing various concept mapping tasks such as the “free construction”/the “concept list”/the “partial recall framework”/the “partial recognition framework” tasks, or utilizing other assessment tools such as various types of questions like free-response questions, questions based on short cases, multiple-choice questions, and true/false questions. The assessToLearn framework constitutes the basis for the development of a web-based adaptive assessment environment, referred to as PASS (Personalized ASsessment System supporting Adaptation and Learning). PASS aims to support the assessment process in the context of the framework and provide adaptive capabilities as far as the adaptation of the assessment process and the guidance/feedback given to the students during the assessment process are concerned. For the application and evaluation of the proposed framework in a real classroom environment, an experimental study was conducted. The study was carried out in the context of the postgraduate course of “Distance Education and Learning” at the Department of Informatics and Telecommunications of the University of Athens during the spring-semester of the academic year 2001-2002. Based on the framework, a set of assessment activities was developed, aiming to serve the following assessment functions: (i) identification of the students’ prior knowledge, (ii) investigation/identification of the students’ unknown concepts, incomplete understanding and false beliefs, (iii) assessment of the conceptual changes and growth in the students’ understanding during, as well as at the end of the teaching and the learning processes, and (iv) assessment of the students’ overall understanding of the subject matter. The experimental results are encouraging, indicating the effectiveness of the assessment activities and subsequently the effectiveness of the framework in serving the assessment functions under consideration.
Gouli, E., Gogoulou, A. & Grigoriadou, M. (2003). A Coherent and Integrated Framework Using Concept Maps for Various Educational Assessment Functions. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 2(1), 215-240. Informing Science Institute.
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