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There is a continuum from rote learning to highly meaningful learning in that the degree of the latter depends on the quantity of relevant knowledge the learner possesses, the quality of organization of relevant knowledge, and the degree of effort made by the learner to integrate new with existing concepts and propositions. These ideas can be illustrated using concept maps.

Two concept maps are shown in Figure 1. Map A illustrates some of the missing concepts and misconceptions that are charactistic of rote learners, whereas map B shows the organized knowledge of an "expert" meaningful learner. Surface learning can be related to near rote or very low levels of meaningful learning, whereas deep learning would be characterized by relatively highly levels of meaningful learning. Bloom described 6 taxonomic levels for evaluation of learning ranging from level 1.

The consequence is that learning by rote can in some ways best achieve high performance on such test items. When the curriculum presents almost innumerable "factoids" or bits of information to be recalled, it is almost impossible for most students to consider how each of these "factoids" relates to what they already know or to integrate the changed meanings that result as this information is assimilated.

The "overstuffed" curriculum in many science courses is one of the reasons students resort to rote learning. Unless students have the time, encouragement, and the inclination to reconstruct their faulty conceptual frameworks, they can do better on tests in most content domains if they simply memorize the "correct" information, procedure, or algorithm. Furthermore, teachers and textbooks can have idiosyncratic descriptions for specific concepts and propositions, and rote learning may be the most efficient strategy when verbatim recall of this information is required.

Other pitfalls of typical classroom testing will be discussed in this book. In the course of meaningful learning, the learner's knowledge structure, or cognitive structure, becomes more complex and better organized. Wandersee processes: subsumption, progressive differentiation, integrative reconciliation, and superordinate learning.

For example, a young child perceives a variety of dogs and acquires the concept of dog. Subsequently the child learns that some dogs are called terriers, some are collies, and so on. For the domain of knowledge dogs, the child has achieved what Ausubel calls progressive differentiation. This sorting out and refining of meanings that at first appear confusing or contradictory is achieved through integrative reconciliation, which in turn leads to further progressive differentiation of cognitive structure.

Cognitive structure development usually proceeds in an "up and down" manner. First, a learner may acquire a concept of average generality and inclusiveness. Thus, in our example, dog or doggies may be the initial concept developed, followed by concepts of terrier or collie, and perhaps concepts of canine or mammal. In due course, a more complex, well-integrated knowledge structure emerges. Recognizing that distant things appear to be smaller cows look like dogs is also part of cognitive development, whereby concepts of scale and context are being developed and refined.

The importance of the context in which events and objects are embedded is one aspect of constructing valid meanings that all learners come to recognize with lesser or greater sophistication. One threat to assessment validity is that information learned in one context may not be transferred and utilized in a different context. Test items that require use of knowledge only in the same context in which it was learned do not assess higher levels of meaningful learning.

When learners achieve a high degree of differentiation and integration of knowledge in a 1. Learning, Teaching, and Assessment particular subject matter domain, they are capable of transferring or applying that knowledge in a wide variety of new contexts. We return to this issue in later chapters. The fourth process of meaningful learning described by Ausubel is super..

Mommies, daddies, and doggies serve as some of these fundamental concepts that subsume other more specific concepts. However, as cognitive development proceeds, the child acquires more general, more inclusive superordinate concepts. For the preschool youngster, these may include concepts such as people, mammals, energy, and time. In later years superordinate concepts such as religion, the Dark Ages, evolution, and entropy may be acquired. Unfortunately, for much science teaching, students and teachers are preoccupied with the acquisition usually by rote learning of numerous facts, problem-solving algorithms, and information classification schemes with little underlying conceptual coherence.

The result is that students fail to acquire well-organized conceptual frameworks including powerful superordinate concepts. We focus on this commitment in each of the following chapters, albeit within a variety of perspectives. First, they must seek to understand the major superordinate and subordinate concepts of their field and to integrate these into a complex, integrated, hierarchical structure.

This is no small task. Both the pedagogy and the assessment practices in these courses often do little to foster development of the kind of knowledge frameworks that are needed for effective science teaching. So prospective science teachers must seek on their own initiative to build this kind of understanding of their field. Wandersee Second, the context in which teachers learn most of their science is divorced from the real world. To create an appropriate context for their own teaching, teachers must seek other experiences, such as field courses and laboratory research opportunities, and they must work to integrate the "book learning" with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes acquired through these experiences.

Third, teachers must learn ways to plan their own curriculum, they must be able to sequence topics in such a way that new knowledge is more easily built on previous learning, and they must master a set of strategies that aim at helping learners restructure their scientific understandings. In the past 25 years we have come to recognize that helping learners change the way they think about natural objects and events is far more difficult than we used to believe and that often this process extends well beyond the time constraints of the typical school year. Finding appropriate contexts for meaningful learning within the constraints of school structures is a major challenge that we have not even begun to seriously address.

Finally, teachers must plan and implement assessment strategies that support meaningful learning and help to achieve the kind of conceptual understandings, feelings, and actions that empower students to be more effective in whatever future work they pursue. We have offered many ideas on how to achieve these goals in Teaching Sci. Nevertheless, we shall attempt to be consistent with the suggestions in that book as we focus on new ideas for assessment in this book. Humans have pondered the question for millennia. There have been significant advances in the past 3 decades in our understanding of the nature of knowledge, and also in our understanding of the process of knowledge creation.

Perhaps the most important idea is that knowledge is not "discovered" as are diamonds or archeological artifacts, but rather it is "created" by human beings. Just as the building blocks for learning and acquisition of knowledge by an individual are concepts and propositions, these are also the building blocks of knowledge. With the explosive growth of information on the Internet, anyone who "surfs the net" soon recognizes the overwhelming amount of information available.

But is information knowledge? From our perspective, knowledge 1. Learning, Teaching, and Assessment has organization and potential for application in problem solving. The difficulty with all of the information on the Internet is that much of it is not available in a form that allows easy organization and application. Another characteristic of knowledge stored in the human brain is that every piece of knowledge is associated to some degree with feelings or affect.

Thus the successful application of knowledge depends not only on how much knowledge we have and how we organize it, but also on the feelings we associate with our knowledge. In a more prosaic manner, Herrigel presented some of the same ideas in his Zen in the Art of Archery. Biographies of geniuses almost always emphasize not the amount of these information that people possess but rather their dogged perseverance and their feelings regarding the best questions or approaches to pursue.

This is as true in the arts and humanities as it is in the sciences, or perhaps even more so. In so much of school assessment, emotion plays little or no role; strong feelings may even prove a liability. While we tend to see more emphasis on expressing emotions in the arts and humanities, too often an individual's freedom to express emotions is suppressed in these disciplines as well.

Emotions or feelings motivate. We seek to do those things that make us feel good, and we avoid those things that make us feel bad. If one of our goals is to make students more creative, more motivated to do something positive with their lives, then we face the challenge of using evaluation strategies that reward high levels of meaningful learning. Poor testing practices can reward the wrong kind of learning. One way to increase the distribution or "spread" of scores on a test is to require recall of relatively minute details or bits of insignificant information.

Such practices tend to discourage learners from looking for the "big ideas" in a domain of study and seeking to organize knowledge hierarchically, with the "big ideas" playing a dominant role. The development of strong positive feelings toward "elegant" organizations of knowledge and the wide span of relevant applications of powerful ideas is also discouraged.

These are some of the issues we shall address in this book. The process of knowledge creation involves the interplay of at least 12 elements. Figure 2 shows how these epistemological elements can be defined and related. Elements 10 Joseph D. Novak, Joel I. FIGURE 2 The knowledge vee for the 12 elements that are involved in creating or understanding knowledge in any domain. The elements on the left side of the vee are used by the learner to select events and focus questions and to perform the actions on the right side of the vee that lead to learning and the creation of knowledge.

All elements interact with each other. These are the knowledge structure and values that guide the inquiry. On the right side of the vee are the methodological or procedural elements that are involved in the creation of new knowledge and value claims. Learning, Teaching, and Assessment 11 the knowledge, feelings, and values the creator brings to the process.

It is evident from the elements shown in the vee that the process of knowledge creation is in. There are almost an infinite number of questions that may be asked and almost an infinite number of events or objects to be observed in any domain of knowledge. How do students learn to ask the right questions, observe the appropriate objects and events, make the important records, perform the best transformations, and construct the most powerful knowledge and value claims?

There are no simple answers to these questions. The best we can hope to do is to help the learner develop the most powerful knowledge structures possible and help to impart a deep respect for and drive to create new knowledge. We shall attempt to show how improved assessment practices can help to achieve these goals.

The use of the vee heuristic as an assessment tool is discussed in Chapter 4. As societies change, new demands are placed on schools. After the USSR launched Sputnik in , there was a public outcry for improving science and mathematics education in our schools. There are, of course, many reasons for this, but at least one important factor is that little was done to improve assessment practices in past "reform" movements. While there were attempts to produce laboratory study guides with more emphasis on enquiry approaches to learning, these were often taught in a way that reduced the labs to little more than "cookbook" verification exercises.

Both of these pub- 12 Joseph D. Wandersee lications were developed with counsel from scientists, outstanding teachers, and science educators. For example, the views of those experts who do not feel that inquiry approaches are the best method of instruction for all science content were not included in the NAS committees. This, in fact, is a principal problem in the way science curricula are currently organized, taught, and evaluated.

Although the AAAS Benchmarks give more recognition to the variety of views on teaching approaches and grade level appropriateness of certain science topics, they are nevertheless very conservative in what they suggest can be taught in the lower grades. This, in our view, is a serious limitation. Some concepts, such as the particulate nature of matter, are so fundamental to understanding most of science that postponing instruction on these concepts postpones the chance for developing understanding of most basic science phenomena.

As Novak and Musonda showed in their year longitudinal study of children's science concept development, instruction in the particulate nature of matter in grades 1 and 2 can influence children's science learning throughout their schooling. Another area that is largely ignored by the Standards and Benchmarksis the important role that metacognitive instruction can play when it is an integral part of the curriculum for grades K To ignore this is to ignore research that suggests enormous gains in learning when metacognitive tools and ideas are properly taught and utilized Mintzes et al.

The net result of most current curriculum efforts is that there is still an emphasis on what is essentially a "laundry list" of topics to be taught. Although most curriculum groups expound the idea that "more is less," the lists of topics to be taught in the Standards, Benchmarks,and other curriculum proposals remain overwhelming. All are a far cry from the guidelines proposed in by the National Science Teachers Association Curriculum Committee suggesting seven major conceptual schemes and five characteristics of the process of science Novak, , as the basis for the design of K science curricula.

With growing public and political pressure on accountability in schools, we are witnessing today a renewed emphasis on testing in science and other areas of the curriculum. The net result may be inadvertently to encourage classroom activities that support rote rather than meaningful learning. We recognize the central role of traditional assessment practices as one of the most significant deterents to meaningful learning, and this recognition has led us to develop and evaluate several powerful new alternative assessment strategies that are described in this book.

With this brief introduction to four of the five commonplaces of education, we invite you now to consider the fifth: new approaches to assessing science understanding. References American Association for the Advancement of Science Benchmarks for science literacy: Project New York: Oxford University Press.

Ausubel, D. The psychology of meaningful verbal learning. Educational psychology: A cognitive view. Educational psychology: A cognitive view 2nd ed. Bloom, B. Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook I: Cognitive domain. New York: David McKay. Brown, J. Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18, Gardner, H. Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences.

New York: Basic Books. Gowin, D. Guilford, J. Three faces of intellect. American Psychologist, 14, Herrigel, E. Zen in the art of archery R. Hull, trans. New York: Vintage Books. Keller, E. E A feeling for the organism: The life and works of Barbara McClintock.

Transmissionist vs constructivist

New York: Freeman. Outcome and Process. Mintzes, J. San Diego: Academic Press. National Research Council.


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National science education standards. Novak, J. Importance of conceptual schemes for science teaching. The Science Teacher, 31, The role of concepts in science teaching. Harris eds. New York: Academic Press. A theory of education. Human constructivism: A unification of psychological and epistemological phenomena in meaning making.

International Journal of Personal Construct Psychology, 6, Learning, creating and using knowledge: Concept mapsTM as facilitative tools in schools and corporations. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Learning how to learn. A twelve year longitudinal study of science concept learning. American Educational Research Journal, 28, Schwab, J. The practical 3: Translation into curriculum. School Review, 81, As Gowin states: A back-and-forthness between teacher and student can be brief or it can last a long time, but the aim is to achieve shared meaning.

In this interaction both teacher and student have definite responsibilities. The teacher is responsible for seeing to it that the meanings of the materials the student grasps are the meanings the teacher intended for the student to take away. The student is responsible for seeing to it that the grasped meanings are the ones the teacher intended. Gowin, ,p. How might this best be accomplished? How do teachers know when their understandings are congruent with those of their students?

Implicit in the goal of shared meaning is the assumption that teaching and learning is a shared enterprise, that teachers and students must work together to construct knowledge and negotiate meaning. For this to be realized, students must be regarded as active participants in the process of knowledge construction not as passive recipients of knowledge that is "transferred" by the teacher , and as being capable of generating meaning which may then be shared.

Edmondson Teachers routinely ask whether their students understand the material or, perhaps more explicitly, how well their students understand. How complete or comprehensive is a student's understanding? Does a student who seems to grasp some concepts also grasp others? If a student understands, will he or she build upon that understanding as new information is introduced, or will learning progress in discrete units that seem independent from one another?

To what extent does one student's understanding compare to another's? Inextricably linked to these questions are others that relate to teaching: What strategies for presenting the material are most effective? What qualities characterize the concepts students find more difficult to grasp? How might teachers structure a curriculum to make complex information more accessible to students?

Transmissionist vs constructivist

Only by maintaining a focus on the quality of student learning can teachers get meaningful answers to questions such as these. And meaningful answers to thoughtful questions about the factors that influence shared meaning and meaningful learning are essential to improving education. Students who learn meaningfully relate information from different sources in an attempt to integrate what they learn with the intention of imposing meaning.

It also more closely resembles the knowledge structure of experts: 2. Assessing Science Understanding through Concept Maps 17 Research in the cognitive aspectsof science learning has provided strong evidence that successfulsciencelearnersas well as professionalscientists developelaborate, strongly hierarchical,well-differentiated,and highlyintegratedframeworksof related concepts as they construct meanings. Furthermore, it is apparent from studies by cognitive scientists that the ability to reason well in the natural sciences is constrained largely by the structure of domain-specific knowledge in the discipline, which accounts for differences seen in the performance of novices and experts in many science-relatedfields.

Pearsallet al. Johnson and Satchwell noted that "a key to expert performance lies in the organization of the expert's domain knowledge. The knowledge structure of novices in physics tends to be amorphous and based on surface features rather than underlying conceptual frameworks" p. The parallels between the process of knowledge transformation as an individual develops expertise in a given area and the process of meaningful learning are clear and are consistent with the research previously cited.

Helping students organize their learning according to key concepts in a hierarchical, integrated manner i. The construction metaphor for learning building upon prior knowledge, structuring understanding, is not accidental. In several chapters of this book, authors emphasize the student's role in constructing understanding. Rather, interactions with the world result in the construction of knowledge claims, which may then be tested according to criteria such as validity, coherence, and correspondence.

Together, constructivism and assimilation theory provide a framework for educational research and teaching practice that 18 Katherine M. How might student understanding best be portrayed? Understanding, as a process and product, involves more than simply "getting the right answer. It reveals itself in fragments, looking more like a case built from evidence than a conclusive fact.

It looks like a dynamic system in the process of change, not a static judgment stamped upon a student as an identity. Most important, it looks multifaceted--more a profile of strengths and weaknesses than the simple numerical composites of traditional evaluations. This description of understanding presents a challenge for anyone interested in assessing learning outcomes. To effectively assess understanding, educators must consider the purposes of assessment and the best methods for achieving those goals. What should be assessed? Clearly, an answer to this question depends on a teacher's educational goals, available resources, and constraints of the educational setting.

In addition, the purposes of the assessment influence the type of assessment vehicles used. If the results of the assessment are used for summative purposes to make judgments about learning outcomes , teachers may choose formats that allow comparisons between students to be made easily.

If the results are to be used for formative purposes to improve the process of learning and teaching , other assessment vehicles may be selected. In most cases, the focus of student evaluation is propositional knowledge. It is aimed at determining the level of content and factual knowledge they have mastered, not the degree to which they have developed a wellintegrated understanding.

Yet, if meaningful learning is a worthwhile educational goal, and educators recognize what has been learned from cognitive research, we need to look beyond traditional assessment vehicles to assess understanding and the assimilation of new knowledge in the form of integrated frameworks.

If teachers strive to capture the essence of shared meaning, which lies at the fulcrum between teaching and learning, alternative evaluation methods are necessary. Science educators have called for the need to pay attention to a "wider range of educational outcomes" and to adopt "a broader view of the purposes of testing," and they have been encouraged to develop "new techniques to probe student understanding" Welch, , pp. As Pendley, Bretz, and Novak noted Assessing Science Understanding through Concept Maps 19 lems correctly does not necessarily indicate or reflect a student's conceptual understanding of the material.

The goals of performance assessments chaps. Activities are "seamlesslessly" incorporated into instructional plans, providing important information to teachers and students about what has been learned. The remaining sections of this chapter focus on concept mapping as a strategy for assessing understanding in science. They also help to identify errors, omissions, or misunderstanding, and they depict the important organizational function certain concepts play in shaping understanding as well as the resistance of some conceptions to change.

Emphasizing cognitive structure, or the way in which students structure what they learn, this large body of research has yielded important contributions for improving educational practice. As greater attention has been paid to applying cognitive theory to classroom instruction Ausubel et al. Depicting student understanding in graphic or pictorial terms makes it accessible; when the structure of knowledge is made explicit, teachers and students can more easily correct common errors or misconceptions.

They can also focus explicitly on interrelationships, promoting integration, and tie examples or particulars to important key ideas, facilitating assimilation of the concrete with the abstract. Traditional paper and pencil tests are often inadequate for assessing these properties of the developing structure of students' knowledge. Concept maps have been particularly helpful in representing qualitative aspects of students' learning. Applicable to any discipline at any level, they are metacognitive tools that can help both teachers and students to better understand the content and process of effective, meaningful learning.

Concept maps have also been used as "road maps" for learning, to communicate to students how new learning will build upon their previous knowledge. As heuristic devices, concept maps make the structure of knowledge explicit to students, and they reveal to teachers the idiosyncrasies in students' cognitive structures due to prior knowledge and experiences. They also reveal students' errors, omissions, and alternative frameworks. Concept mapping is a tool for representing the interrelationships between concepts in an integrated, hierarchical manner. Concept maps depict the structure of knowledge in propositional statements that dictate the relationships among the concepts in a map.

Connected by labeled lines, the concepts depicted in concept maps have superordinate-subordinate relationships as well as interrelationships Figure 1. Based on assimilation theory Ausubel et al. The knowledge portrayed in concept maps is context-dependent. Edmondson same concepts convey different meanings depending on the relative emphasis of superordinate concepts, linking descriptors, and arrangement of individual concepts.

Concept maps are idiosyncratic: they depict key concepts of a domain as portrayed through valid propositions, but necessarily reflect the knowledge and experience of the mapmaker. This feature makes concept mapping particularly helpful for illustrating the ways in which context influences the structure and application of knowledge.

It allows knowledge to be portrayed as dynamic and subject to change while preserving a network of interconnected ideas, illustrating the integrated nature of meaning and understanding. The notion of the student as meaning-maker Pearsall et al. Concept maps provide a useful approach for promoting and assessing meaningful learning by providing a tangible record of conceptual understanding. Not only are concept maps useful for determining whether or to what extent shared meaning has occurred, they also portray the areas where it has not been achieved.

Concept maps, as a technique for representing understanding "provide a unique window into the way learners structure their knowledge, offering an opportunity to assess both the propositional validity and the structural complexity of that knowledge base" Pearsall et al. Concept maps allow educators to gain insight into these aspects of student learning, and constitute a valuable addition to every teacher's repertoire of assessment techniques.

For example, concept maps allow teachers to evaluate attributes of propositional knowledge such as structure, elaboration, validity, complexity and portray knowledge as an integrated network, rather than a collection of discrete facts. As assessment tools, concept maps may be used summatively, as tests, but they may also be used to document changes in knowledge and understanding over time and as a vehicle for determining degrees of correspondence between students' maps and experts' maps. They may be used in classroom activities that provide students with immediate feedback about the depth of their understanding, or to assess learning from specific instructional units i.

Hoz, Tomer, and Tamir stated that "the knowledge structure dimensions yielded by AssessingScience Understanding through Concept Maps 23 adequate for tapping certain characteristics of knowledge structures" p. Concept maps may be used for formative or summative purposes; the range of classroom settings in which they have been used to assess student learning includes elementary and secondary schools and undergraduate and professional programs. Concept maps have been used successfully to improve student performance on traditional measures of achievement.

Wilson found that concept maps predicted achievement test scores, if the test was aimed at transfer and application of knowledge. When concept maps were used as advance organizers in classes of eighth-grade physical science, Willerman and MacHarg found significant differences and improved performance on achievement tests. They attributed this outcome to the visual nature of concept maps in helping students organize their conceptual frameworks and to the fact that "model" maps were constructed by teachers and therefore served as a more complete and accurate framework upon which to build new knowledge.

Esiobu and Soyibo also documented significantly better achievement scores among students in ecology and genetics courses who constructed concept maps to facilitate learning. They explained these improvements by noting the capacity of concept maps to help students see the interrelationships among concepts and to link new concepts effectively to prior knowledge. Pankratius also reported improved student performance on achievement tests in physics; maps constructed at different times "demonstrated the development of a student's understanding as the unit progressed" p.

Trowbridge and Wandersee used concept maps to analyze differences in students' comprehension of material in a lecturebased course on evolution. They found concept mapping to be a "highly sensitive tool for measuring changes in knowledge structure" p. Wallace and Mintzes used concept maps to document conceptual change in biology. Students' concept maps revealed significant and substantial changes in the complexity and propositional structure of their knowledge base.

Johnson and Satchwell claimed that the use of "functional flow diagrams during technical instruction enhances the student's ability to develop more accurate knowledge structures" p. Pearsall et al. Edmondson They reported a substantial amount of knowledge restructuring on the part of their students in general, but perhaps a more exciting finding was their ability to document the kinds of structural changes that occurred and whether those changes occurred incrementally or at particular times during the semester In contrast, the number of levels of hierarchy tended to stabilize after an initial period of rapid growth, suggesting that concept differentiation and integration continue over the span of the semester while subsumption seems to peak at about week 9 or soon thereafter.

Similar to the notion of "critical concepts" used by Wallace and Mintzes , Nakhleh and Krajcik speculated that "students who increased their use of essential critical nodes from initial to final maps had begun to structure their understanding around a more acceptable framework than those students who did not exhibit this shift to essential critical nodes" p. They suggest that essential critical nodes serve an important role in helping students to develop a framework for organizing understanding, which facilitates subsequent learning.

Interestingly, propositional relationships in students' maps that were considered valid and appropriate were not clustered according to any particular pattern. However, inappropriate understandings were clustered around a few main ideas, suggesting both the potential for restructuring based on explicit instruction targeted to a small set of key concepts, and the challenge of modifying superordinate, organizing concepts that may be resistant to change.

This application of concept mapping offers important insights into the process of knowledge construction. As Roth observed: Rather than being logical consequents, the outcomes of students' collaborative work was always a contingent achievement impossible to predict from our previous knowledge about individual students The talk took place over and through an 2.

Assessing Science Understanding through Concept Maps 25 emerging concept map. As the session progressed, the design of the concept map took shape as the result of joint talk. At the same time, the unfolding design shaped the discussion and influenced future talk. In this way, the unfolding design and the talk stood in a reflexive relationship, each taking part in constituting the other Roth, , p.

A variety of schemes for scoring concept maps have been suggested. Most are variations of a scheme outlined by Novak and Gowin , who defined the criteria for evaluating concept maps as levels of hierarchy, the validity of the propositions and cross-links, and use of examples. These may be evaluated as general criteria, or differentially weighted point values may be assigned to the various map characteristics. In the scoring scheme Novak and Gowin devised, 1 point was assigned for each valid relationship, 4 points for hierarchy, 10 points for each cross-link, and 1 point for each example.

Markham et al. As in Novak and Gowin's scheme, these attributes were scored according to differential point values: 1 point was assigned to the number of concepts and concept relationships 1 point for each concept, 1 point for each valid relationship ; the scores for branching varied according the amount of elaboration 1 point for each branching, 3 points for each successive branching ; 5 points were assigned for each level of hierarchy; each cross-link received 10 points; and each example received 1 point. Assigning scores to students' concept maps allows them to be used for summative purposes, while providing students with detailed feedback about the quality of their understanding.

Scores on particular attributes of concept maps can also be used as a basis for comparing the extent to which different dimensions of understanding have been achieved between groups of students. In research comparing differences in the concept maps of biology majors with those of nonmajors, Markham et al. Edmondson Scores on the branchings and hierarchies suggest substantial differences in the degree of concept differentiation and subsumption, which together reflect a more significantly more robust knowledge structure among the more advanced students. They scored concept maps according to linkage, score, "good links," error, and number of components.

Links were scored on a three-point scale, taking into account the quality of the links. Each link was assigned a weighted point value, and these were added together to produce the score. The number of links scored 3, or best, produced the value of "good links.

They observed, "While is it quite clear that a numerical score from a concept map does not pinpoint areas of misunderstanding any more than does a score on a conventional examination, close scrutiny of the concept map may more quickly serve this purpose" p. Others have sought to develop methods for making comparisons among maps constructed by students enrolled in the same course, but that account for varying degrees of difficulty represented.

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Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Place units in the hippocampus of the freely moving rat. The hippocampus as a spatial map. Preliminary evidence from unit activity in the freely-moving rat. Brain Res. The Hippocampus as Cognitive Map. Phillips, D. The good, the bad, and the ugly: the many faces of constructivism. Coming to grips with radical social constructivism. Finally, the psychology of cognitive development is concerned with individual differences in the organization of cognitive processes and abilities, in their rate of change, and in their mechanisms of change.

The principles underlying intra- and inter-individual differences could be educationally useful, because knowing how students differ in regard to the various dimensions of cognitive development, such as processing and representational capacity, self-understanding and self-regulation, and the various domains of understanding, such as mathematical, scientific, or verbal abilities, would enable the teacher to cater for the needs of the different students so that no one is left behind.

Constructivism is a category of learning theory in which emphasis is placed on the agency and prior "knowing" and experience of the learner, and often on the social and cultural determinants of the learning process. Educational psychologists distinguish individual or psychological constructivism, identified with Piaget's theory of cognitive development , from social constructivism. A dominant influence on the latter type is Lev Vygotsky 's work on sociocultural learning, describing how interactions with adults, more capable peers, and cognitive tools are internalized to form mental constructs.

Elaborating on Vygotsky's theory, Jerome Bruner and other educational psychologists developed the important concept of instructional scaffolding , in which the social or information environment offers supports for learning that are gradually withdrawn as they become internalized. Jean Piaget was interested in how an organism adapts to its environment. Piaget hypothesized that infants are born with a schema operating at birth that he called "reflexes".

Piaget identified four stages in cognitive development. The four stages are sensorimotor stage, pre-operational stage, concrete operational stage and formal operational stage. To understand the characteristics of learners in childhood , adolescence , adulthood , and old age , educational psychology develops and applies theories of human development.

For example, educational psychologists have conducted research on the instructional applicability of Jean Piaget's theory of development , according to which children mature through four stages of cognitive capability. Piaget hypothesized that children are not capable of abstract logical thought until they are older than about 11 years, and therefore younger children need to be taught using concrete objects and examples.

Researchers have found that transitions, such as from concrete to abstract logical thought, do not occur at the same time in all domains. A child may be able to think abstractly about mathematics, but remain limited to concrete thought when reasoning about human relationships. Perhaps Piaget's most enduring contribution is his insight that people actively construct their understanding through a self-regulatory process.

Piaget's views of moral development were elaborated by Kohlberg into a stage theory of moral development. There is evidence that the moral reasoning described in stage theories is not sufficient to account for moral behavior. For example, other factors such as modeling as described by the social cognitive theory of morality are required to explain bullying. Rudolf Steiner 's model of child development interrelates physical, emotional, cognitive, and moral development [43] in developmental stages similar to those later described by Piaget.

Developmental theories are sometimes presented not as shifts between qualitatively different stages, but as gradual increments on separate dimensions. Development of epistemological beliefs beliefs about knowledge have been described in terms of gradual changes in people's belief in: certainty and permanence of knowledge, fixedness of ability, and credibility of authorities such as teachers and experts. People develop more sophisticated beliefs about knowledge as they gain in education and maturity. Motivation is an internal state that activates, guides and sustains behavior.

Motivation can have several impacting effects on how students learn and how they behave towards subject matter: [46]. Educational psychology research on motivation is concerned with the volition or will that students bring to a task, their level of interest and intrinsic motivation , the personally held goals that guide their behavior, and their belief about the causes of their success or failure. As intrinsic motivation deals with activities that act as their own rewards, extrinsic motivation deals with motivations that are brought on by consequences or punishments. A form of attribution theory developed by Bernard Weiner [47] describes how students' beliefs about the causes of academic success or failure affect their emotions and motivations.

For example, when students attribute failure to lack of ability, and ability is perceived as uncontrollable, they experience the emotions of shame and embarrassment and consequently decrease effort and show poorer performance. In contrast, when students attribute failure to lack of effort, and effort is perceived as controllable, they experience the emotion of guilt and consequently increase effort and show improved performance. SDT focuses on the importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in driving human behavior and posits inherent growth and development tendencies.

It emphasizes the degree to which an individual's behavior is self-motivated and self-determined. When applied to the realm of education, the self-determination theory is concerned primarily with promoting in students an interest in learning, a value of education, and a confidence in their own capacities and attributes. Motivational theories also explain how learners' goals affect the way they engage with academic tasks. Those who have performance approach goals strive for high grades and seek opportunities to demonstrate their abilities. Those who have performance avoidance goals are driven by fear of failure and avoid situations where their abilities are exposed.

Research has found that mastery goals are associated with many positive outcomes such as persistence in the face of failure, preference for challenging tasks, creativity and intrinsic motivation. Performance avoidance goals are associated with negative outcomes such as poor concentration while studying, disorganized studying, less self-regulation, shallow information processing and test anxiety. Performance approach goals are associated with positive outcomes, and some negative outcomes such as an unwillingness to seek help and shallow information processing.

Locus of control is a salient factor in the successful academic performance of students. During the s and '80s, Cassandra B. Whyte did significant educational research studying locus of control as related to the academic achievement of students pursuing higher education coursework. Much of her educational research and publications focused upon the theories of Julian B. Rotter in regard to the importance of internal control and successful academic performance.

Therefore, it is important to provide education and counseling in this regard. Instructional design , the systematic design of materials, activities and interactive environments for learning, is broadly informed by educational psychology theories and research. For example, in defining learning goals or objectives, instructional designers often use a taxonomy of educational objectives created by Benjamin Bloom and colleagues. Bloom [53] discovered that a combination of mastery learning with one-to-one tutoring is highly effective, producing learning outcomes far exceeding those normally achieved in classroom instruction.

The following list of technological resources incorporate computer-aided instruction and intelligence for educational psychologists and their students:. Technology is essential to the field of educational psychology, not only for the psychologist themselves as far as testing, organization, and resources, but also for students. Educational Psychologists whom reside in the K- 12 setting focus the majority of their time with Special Education students. It has been found that students with disabilities learning through technology such as iPad applications and videos are more engaged and motivated to learn in the classroom setting.

Liu et al. The authors explain that learning technology also allows for students with social- emotional disabilities to participate in distance learning. Research on classroom management and pedagogy is conducted to guide teaching practice and form a foundation for teacher education programs. The goals of classroom management are to create an environment conducive to learning and to develop students' self-management skills. More specifically, classroom management strives to create positive teacher—student and peer relationships, manage student groups to sustain on-task behavior, and use counseling and other psychological methods to aid students who present persistent psycho-social problems.

Introductory educational psychology is a commonly required area of study in most North American teacher education programs. When taught in that context, its content varies, but it typically emphasizes learning theories especially cognitively oriented ones , issues about motivation, assessment of students' learning, and classroom management. A developing Wikibook about educational psychology gives more detail about the educational psychology topics that are typically presented in preservice teacher education.

In order to become an educational psychologist, students can complete an undergraduate degree in their choice. Most students today are also receiving their doctorate degrees in order to hold the "psychologist" title. Educational psychologists work in a variety of settings. Some work in university settings where they carry out research on the cognitive and social processes of human development, learning and education.

Educational psychologists may also work as consultants in designing and creating educational materials, classroom programs and online courses. Educational psychologists who work in k—12 school settings closely related are school psychologists in the US and Canada are trained at the master's and doctoral levels. In addition to conducting assessments, school psychologists provide services such as academic and behavioral intervention, counseling, teacher consultation, and crisis intervention.

However, school psychologists are generally more individual-oriented towards students. Many high school and colleges are increasingly offering educational psychology courses, with some colleges offering it as a general education requirement. Similarly, colleges offer students opportunities to obtain a PhD. Within the UK, students must hold a degree that is accredited by the British Psychological Society either undergraduate or at Masters level before applying for a three year doctoral course that involves further education, placement and a research thesis.

One in four psychologists are employed in educational settings. In recent decades, the participation of women as professional researchers in North American educational psychology has risen dramatically. Educational psychology, as much as any other field of psychology heavily relies on a balance of pure observation and quantitative methods in psychology. The study of education generally combines the studies of history , sociology , and ethics with theoretical approaches. Smeyers and Depaepe explain that historically, the study of education and child rearing have been associated with the interests of policymakers and practitioners within the educational field, however, the recent shift to sociology and psychology has opened the door for new findings in education as a social science.

Now being its own academic discipline, educational psychology has proven to be helpful for social science researchers. Quantitative research is the backing to most observable phenomena in psychology. This involves observing, creating, and understanding a distribution of data based upon the studies subject matter.

Researchers use particular variables to interpret their data distributions from their research and employ statistics as a way of creating data tables and analyzing their data. Psychology has moved from the "common sense" reputations initially posed by Thomas Reid to the methodology approach comparing independent and dependent variables through natural observation , experiments , or combinations of the two.

Though results are still, with statistical methods, objectively true based upon significance variables or p- values. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Branch of psychology concerned with the scientific study of human learning. Basic types. Applied psychology. Main article: Neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development. Main article: Constructivism.

For broader coverage of this topic, see Educational technology. Education portal Psychology portal. The lack of representation of educational psychology and school psychology in introductory psychology textbooks. Educational Psychology , 25, — School psychology: Learning lessons from history and moving forward. School Psychology International, 31 6 , Retrieved May 5, Educational psychology: A century of contributions. Schooling as a means of popular education: Pestalozzi's method as a popular education experiment. An introduction to the history of psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Talks to teachers on psychology and to students on some of life's ideals. Education: A first book. New York: MacMillan. How we think. New York D.


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Bloom's taxonomy of learning domains. School Psychology Quarterly , 15, — Journal of School Psychology , 39, — Undermining children's intrinsic interest with extrinsic reward: A test of the "overjustification" hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 28, — Achievement-based rewards and intrinsic motivation: A test of cognitive mediators. Journal of Educational Psychology , 97, — A summary of the effects of reward contingencies on interest and performance.

The Behavior Analyst Today , 3, — Multimedia learning.