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Home > Archive > For teachers > Assessment > Middle School and High School

This page provides tips on assessment for Middle School and High School students; see notes for college and graduate classes.

Assessing nodemap lessons (Middle School and High School)

SpicyNodes is an authoring system. As such, it needs to be evaluated in light of the audience to which it speaks. Nodemaps can be creative and interesting or boring and rote. A nodemap’s purpose as a concept map is important and necessary, but so too is the originality of the presentation. You need to be on the lookout for the nodemap that includes thoughtful descriptions, catchy labels, and even photographs of the lesson activities. Do you smile when you examine the node map? That’s a good thing!

There are differences between a middle school student’s node map and a high school student’s node map. At the high school level, student nodemaps are more content oriented, and are very specific in selections of examples and explanations. Middle school student nodemaps are more fun to examine and evaluate.

However, simple recitation of facts does not make a good nodemap; pictures, examples from home, and clever wording all contribute to a nodemap’s excellence. High school students should be able to include web site links, and middle school students should be able to include photos in their nodes. All students should have internalized the course material so that they can write node content in their own words. The rubric may used or adapted to fit your needs.

General tips and principles

Two components should be considered when assessing nodemaps: the content and the presentation. The content includes the words and phrases that logically flow one to the next. They should be in the correct orbits and explanations for one principle cannot be placed with an example from another section or chapter. Each chapter or section that is lengthy deserves its own nodemap; otherwise the whole nodemap may become unwieldy. So, in addition to the start-up set of nodes, you need to carefully look at the second, third, fourth, and fifth levels of nodes for the procession of ideas.

In evaluating the presentation of the nodemap, you need to look at the choice of shapes of nodes, the colors used, the connectors, the size of the print, and the cleverness of phrases and titles. It is possible to have an excellent, creative presentation but the wrong content, and vice versa. Your grading needs to incorporate these two factors. Don’t forget to give your students the suggested guidelines to follow.

  • Is there consistency?
  • Is the language appropriate for the audience?
  • Is the content correct?
  • Are sub-categories placed where they belong?
  • Are there any extras not covered in class?
  • Is there a flow of ideas?
  • Is there color?
  • Are there pictures?
  • Are there videos?
  • Are there links to web sites?
  • Is there more than the minimum required?

Guidelines for students

You can adapt these tips and give them to your students to help them do their project well and get a good grade.

Your nodemap is similar to a concept map, with the addition of boxes, ovals, clouds, or stars; color; pictures, photographs, and videos; and links to web pages. It should be fun to look at, easy to navigate, and complete with examples and explanations.

  • Do you have the content of the main nodes adequately placed?
  • Do you use as many sub-categories as possible?
  • Do you have connectors?
  • Do you vary the size of the print?
  • Are you using colored text?
  • Have you uploaded pictures?
  • Have you correctly followed examples correctly on the web site or in the textbook?
  • Have you included examples you might have seen at home?
  • Are you thinking about your friends when you write your nodes?
  • Does your nodemap make someone smile?
  • Do you include any extra ideas?
  • Do you have quotes from your teacher?

Share with us

Please take a few minutes to let us know how the nodemap lesson worked with your class. your thoughts, experiences, or other assessment ideas. Were you able to navigate the site? Did the students encounter any specific problems? Did the buttons and the custom edit features work? Do you have any exemplary nodemaps? The more we know, the better we can make this site. Thank you for your help.

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