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Context & Problem

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I. Research Question Background
After grading short answer exams in my classes, I would identify concepts that multiple students would get incorrect. In an effort to aid the students , handouts were developed to review these concepts and provided when the exams were returned. Students started asking for these handouts prior to exams to aid them in their studying. As more of these “knowledge” maps were developed, they were provided to students at the beginning of the quarter. Students tended to like these summaries, as comments on the instructor evaluation forms included:
“Those flow sheets help a lot.”
“Handouts are an excellent help”
“More study sheets – those are good”
“Good review sheets”
“I like those short handouts for better understanding, it really helps.”
“I like the recent handouts.”
“I like the handouts.”
                “Handouts are very good.”
II. Research questions
                1. For what reasons did students find them helpful (knowledge/relationships, etc.)? Are these reasons consistent with those found in the literature for k-maps? Did students with different learning styles report them to be helpful? Was it for the same reasons? Are they as useful when provided with a different instructor?
                                a. Did they use them after the course?
                                b. Are they comfortable with the format?
                2.  How do knowledge maps impact student learning?
                                a. Higher level knowledge (meaningful learning)?
                                b. Content knowledge?
                                c. Retention of knowledge (over time)?
                3. Is impact of knowledge map affected by student learning style/background?
                4. How do students view the use of knowledge maps in comparison to other methods in which the same information is presented?
III. Assessment Ideas (embed and make electronic if possible).
Focus Group –
                Did you refer to the maps in subsequent courses/work?
                Did you ever make your own map?
                Provide incorrect ones and have students correct them?
                Would students who had another instructor also report them to be useful?
                Knowledge map vs a concept map?
A. Types of data
                1. Qualitative: Presentations, portfolios, concept maps, interviews, focus groups
                2. Quantitative: Exams, surveys, anything graded with a rubric
                                a. Concept assessment exam – used to measure a gain in student learning/knowledge. Use one that is validated in order to make sure that people believe your work.
                                b. Attitude surveys measure student attitudes about science, etc. in comparison to experts.
B. Application of Bloom’s Taxonomy
1. “Bloom” the questions. Have students bloom some of the questions as well to understand where the class is heading. Have others “bloom” as well to compare.
C. Concept maps
                1. Can be used for both instruction as well as assessment.
                2. Scoring is used to look at conceptual change.
                3. Look at landmark paper if interested (Ruiz-Primo and R. Shavelson. J. Res. Sci. Teaching. 33:569-600, 1996).
D. Rubrics can be useful for grading and assessment
                1. Adapt published rubrics
                2. Use Rubistar to create new rubrics
E. Qualitative data
                1. Inductive vs. deductive process
                2. Interviews should be coded/tagged and categorized thematically.
                                -- member check findings.
                Must get IRB approval before starting the study.
VI. Study Design
                1. Use surveys
                2. Consider interviews/talk alouds