Among Mind Mapping’s many uses in education is its ability to be used for the pre and post-assessment of students. Minds Maps aid our comprehension and memory, making them the ideal tool for measuring a student’s level of understanding of a topic before and after it’s taught.
Mind Maps are enjoyable to create and engaging for everyone; the non-linear layout and use of images and colours make them perfect for visual and kinaesthetic thinkers*. The radiant structure encourages students to branch out with more ideas and more connections when capturing what they have learnt.
*They’re particularly helpful for dyslexic learners, who find usual methods of assessment frustrating, thanks to their informal structure and visual nature.
Mind Maps offer a more accurate and realistic reading of a student’s knowledge of a topic as they don’t rely on their language or written skills. Students will have the freedom to interpret topics in their own way, and express their ideas metaphorically.
Below are two methods for practically applying Mind Mapping to pre and post-assessments. The first is for older students to try, and the second is for the younger students.
Begin by introducing your topic to your students. Then, ask them to Mind Map their initial thoughts and responses. These initial ideas can stem from anywhere; their own interpretations, what they already know, other parts of the curriculum or what they’ve heard in the media and so on.
Next, teach the topic to your students. Ensure they keep hold of their original maps so they can use them as a reference to show how much they are learning.
Once you have taught the topic to your students, instruct them to create a summative assessment Mind Map. They can add to their original pre-assessment Map if they wish, which can be done easily and neatly using Mind Mapping software such as iMindMap. They should be able to add in much more accurate detail, and make connections between different areas of the topic, plus show evidence of independent thinking (looked for in formal exam marking criteria).
Hint: Students can use their summative maps as revision aids, export them as a Word document from iMindMap for essay planning, or use the software’s Presentation Mode to present their work.
Make the pre-assessment a class exercise. Start by creating a group Mind Map, on which you can capture the whole class’s initial ideas and opinions. We’ll use a French vocabulary lesson as an example. This task works best when the Mind Map is projected on to a wall to include everyone; the visual characteristics of the Mind Map, as well as being able to see the Map come to life, will not only help students recall information, but will also really fire up their imaginations!
The next step is to present your students with a sample map which includes the topic information that they have been taught in a random structure around the central idea. For this example, you could use the floating text feature in iMindMap to place the English words randomly around the map, and get your students to place them next to the correct French word. The aim is to get the students, again in a group, to make the correct connections between these ideas and provide their own understanding to rearrange the map correctly.
Getting the students to restructure the map means they can participate in self-assessment, and you can gain a thorough understanding of the depth of knowledge they have acquired.
iMindMap has many features that will enhance the way you use Mind Mapping to assess your students. For example, the software allows you to save your maps as templates, which means you can make tailored templates for your students to re-use over and over again.
In addition, the software enables you to add images and icons to your map to customise it, or even to replace text. Images, icons, colours and keywords will all trigger connections in your students’ brains, improving their ability to recall the information they have been taught.
If you want to give Mind Mapping for pre and post-assessment a try, why not download our free trial….
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