New Methods for Analyzing Semantic Graph Based Assessments in Science Education
By: Lance Steven Vikaros
Published: 5/18/2016
Uploaded: 06/06/2018
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2016 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Automed Assessment, Concept Mapping, Ecology, Knowledge Visualization, Semantic Graphing, Semantic Networks

Description/Abstract: This research investigated how the scoring of semantic graphs (known by many as concept maps) could be improved and automated in order to address issues of inter-rater reliability and scalability. As part of the NSF funded SENSE-IT project to introduce secondary school science students to sensor networks (NSF Grant No. 0833440), semantic graphs illustrating how temperature change affects water ecology were collected from 221 students across 16 schools. The graphing task did not constrain students' use of terms, as is often done with semantic graph based assessment due to coding and scoring concerns. The graphing software used provided real-time feedback to help students learn how to construct graphs, stay on topic and effectively communicate ideas. The collected graphs were scored by human raters using assessment methods expected to boost reliability, which included adaptations of traditional holistic and propositional scoring methods, use of expert raters, topical rubrics, and criterion graphs. High levels of inter-rater reliability were achieved, demonstrating that vocabulary constraints may not be necessary after all.
To investigate a new approach to automating the scoring of graphs, thirty-two different graph features characterizing graphs' structure, semantics, configuration and process of construction were then used to predict human raters' scoring of graphs in order to identify feature patterns correlated to raters' evaluations of graphs' topical accuracy and complexity. Results led to the development of a regression model able to predict raters' scoring with 77% accuracy, with 46% accuracy expected when used to score new sets of graphs, as estimated via cross-validation tests. Although such performance is comparable to other graph and essay based scoring systems, cross-context testing of the model and methods used to develop it would be needed before it could be recommended for widespread use. Still, the findings suggest techniques for improving the reliability and scalability of semantic graph based assessments without requiring constraint of how ideas are expressed.