I used to be big into concept maps as an additional way for my students to show understanding besides a quiz or test. In fact, so much so, that my students a few years ago had to make a concept map as a mandatory test review. I’ve shied away from that over the past few years in a new school (why? I’m actually not so sure) - probably because I got too much information from my students about their level of understanding. I’m sure if I conducted a rigorous method of assessment, there would be a correlation between how well students could connect ideas and assessment scores.
There have been numerous educational initiatives that have driven the push for helping students develop deep conceptual understanding. One of the difficulties for educators is assessing whether students have actually made gains in understanding. Ask any teacher to define “conceptual understanding” and their definition may be very different from the next teacher’s definition. The authors of this timely article have taken the definitions of well over a thousand instructors and identified a consensus articulation of what conceptual understanding is. This article will be of interest to any teacher struggling to assess their student’s conceptual understanding of content.
Larry Dukerich has been using Modeling Instruction for many years. He is a founding member of the AMTA.