Development of a Knowledge Assessment System Based on Concept Maps and Differential Weighting Approaches

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Virginia Tech

This study explored the feasibility and practicability of designing and developing a Knowledge Assessment System (KAS) for assessing different types of knowledge as defined in the revision of Bloom's Taxonomy (Anderson et al., 2001). The KAS created as a result of this study is based on concept maps and employs two differential weighting approaches. It is a developmental study, which includes the design phase, development phase and evaluation phase. The general software system design model (Sommerville, 2009) was adopted to guide the design of the Knowledge Assessment System based on its procedures, including system requirements analysis, architecture design, component design, interface design, and database design. The assessment criteria in this system are designed to be proposition-based and consist of either a non-weighting approach or a weighting approach, which can help provide instructors with flexible assessing methods as well as help them obtain a whole picture of what kinds of knowledge their students have grasped and to what extent the students have mastered that knowledge, based on the student-created concept maps. The two differential weighting approaches initially compare student-created concept maps with expert maps stored in the system. Because some correct propositions in student concept maps may be not included in the initial expert concept maps, the system is designed to continually refine the assessment criterion by inspecting and evaluating the correctness of the propositions in the student-created concept maps and adding the results to the system's database.

The current system is able to assess three types of knowledge: factual, conceptual, and procedural, all of which are defined in the revision of Bloom's Taxonomy (Anderson et al., 2001). The assessment process begins with the assignment of different types of concept map tasks entered and stored in the Knowledge Assessment System. Following by student completion of the tasks and submission of a concept map, the submitted concept map is compared to the criteria stored in the system and a performance report is generated.

The research results show that the Knowledge Assessment System based on concept maps and two differential weighting approaches can act as a useful tool for assessing students' factual, conceptual and procedural knowledge based on their concept maps.

knowledge assessment, educational software system, weighting approaches, non-weighting approaches, concept map