THE SALIENT MAP ANALYSIS FOR RESEARCH AND TEACHING (SMART) METHOD: POWERFUL POTENTIAL AS A FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT IN THE BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES.
Cathcart, Laura Anne
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation consists of two studies: 1) development and characterization of the Salient Map Analysis for Research and Teaching (SMART) method as a formative assessment tool and 2) a case study exploring how a paramedic instructor’s beliefs about learners affect her utilization of the SMART method and vice versa. The first study explored: How can a novel concept map analysis method be designed as an effective formative assessment tool? The SMART method improves upon existing concept map analysis methods because it does not require hierarchically structured concept maps and it preserves the rich content of the maps instead of reducing each map down to a numerical score. The SMART method is performed by comparing a set of students’ maps to each other and to an instructor’s map. The resulting composite map depicts, in percentages and highlighted colors, the similarities and differences between all of the maps. Some advantages of the SMART method as a formative assessment tool include its ability to highlight changes across time, problematic or alternative conceptions, and patterns of student responses at a glance. Study two explored: How do a paramedic instructor’s beliefs about students and learning affect – and become affected by – her use of the SMART method as a formative assessment tool? This case study of Angel, an expert paramedic instructor, begins to address a gap in the emergency medical services (EMS) education literature, which contains almost no research on teachers or pedagogy. Angel and I worked together as participant co-researchers (Heron & Reason, 1997) exploring the affordances of the SMART method. This study, based on those interactions with Angel, involved using open coding to identify themes (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) from Angel’s views of students and use of the SMART method. Angel views learning as a sense-making process. She has a multi-faceted view of her students as novices and invests substantial time trying to understand their concept maps. Not only do these beliefs affect her use of the SMART method; in addition, her beliefs are refined through the use of the SMART method.