The effects of concept maps on student knowledge of earth science
Students at my high school have scored their lowest on the Earth science portion of the state proficiency test over the past several years. Because this is a topic I teach to the entire freshman class in my school, my capstone project was dedicated to increasing these test scores. My project involved adding concept mapping to all material assigned during two units of the Earth science unit. Data collected to identify the impact of the concept map came from student journal entries, interviews, and surveys as well as from tests that included multiple-choice questions modeled on the state proficiency test questions; targeted short answer questions were included to provide me with qualitative data. I also used a journal and an interview by my principal in an effort to measure the impact of concept mapping on my time and attitude. The results of the study were mixed. Although postunit test scores were higher following the nontreatment unit, there was significant long-term retention of material by three of the four subgroups. Data also indicate greater retention of vocabulary across all of the subgroups. Finally, the results indicate that concept mapping can be a valuable addition to my teaching repertoire.