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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Large and Small: Understanding Map Scale Assessment

This is an assignment (Assignment 5.1: The Assessment Plan) for the MOOC I'm currently taking: MITx: 11.132x Design and Development of Educational Technology. We were asked to create an assessment plan for our educational intervention. My intervention is detailed here.


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Learning objectives:

After using the intervention students should be able to understand apply these ideas:

  • Larger map scale means more potential details can be seen, smaller map scale means fewer details.
  • Larger scale maps cover smaller areas (a few trees), smaller scales cover larger areas (an entire forest).
  • Users need to create/select the correct scale map to get the best answer to their question
  • The representative fraction (RF) is written as a fraction or ratio and behaves like one: a larger fraction means a larger scale, a smaller fraction means a smaller scale.

Assessment: Formative

Formative assessments would “pop up” as the student interacts with the two apps.

In the changing scale tool (where students change the scale in various ways to see the impact on a Google Maps type map) the questions might include:

You made two maps in response to queries. Look at these two of your maps: a) one at backyard/neighborhood scale and b) one at county/continent scale. 
  • Which has more detail? What details are shown?
  • Which covers a larger area? How large (roughly) is it?
  • Which would you use to plan a walking trip? A long car or train trip?
  • What is the RF for each? Which is larger scale? Which smaller scale?

Feedback would include if each response was correct/incorrect and why. If all four are not correct, the response is: Let’s make some more maps!  The student is then guided back to the app to explore some more and create a few more maps.

In the free draw tool (where students draw in real world coordinates and a second pane shows the drawing at a requested scale) the questions might include:
  • If you want to see the details of one object you drew (the tail of the horse, the outline of Lincoln’s head on a penny), would the RF be larger or smaller than 1?
  • If you drew many horses and wanted to see where all of them were on the farm, would the RF be larger or smaller than 1?
Feedback would include if each responses was correct/incorrect and why. If both are not answered correctly, the student is requested to draw a few more items to explore the scale relationships, and to try the assessment again.

Once both assessments are “passed” (4/4 and 2/2) the student is invited to take the summative assessment.

Assessment: Summative

In the the summative assessment the student is asked to create a series of maps at the correct scale for a treasure hunt to be held as part of a birthday party in the park.

The student is asked to make three maps using the same Google Maps type interface from the changing scale tool. The dataset includes a town with a school and a park, (with a playground  ballfields, paths) and as well as details of the playground (slides, swings, etc). The student creates:
  • a map of how to get to the park from the school
  • a map of where in the park to meet for the party
  • a map of various treasures hidden in the playground 
With all three created an instructor would ask the student to use their maps and mapping language to:
  • identify the largest scale map and describe its properties (a lot/a little detail with examples, small or large area covered compared to other two, RF)
  • identify the smallest scale map and describe its properties (a lot/a little detail, small or large area covered compared to other two, RF)
  • describe who might use each map (child, adult, on foot, on bike, in a car)
  • explain using RFs how one is a larger scale than the other
Data Display

The key data from the formative assessments reveal perseverance: are the students motivated to keep exploring the mapping tools until they “pass” both assessments. That data might be valuable to the instructor to learn more about an individual student, but I’m not sure if the students needs to know that it took six iterations to “get it.”

The key data from the summative assessment is more difficult to break down. The instructor/evaluator might use a rubric to confirm the student could illustrate the four objectives which are tightly woven into the interview:
  • Larger scale means more potential details can be seen, smaller scale means fewer details. (Detail)
  • Larger scale maps cover smaller areas (a few trees), smaller scales cover larger areas (an entire forest). (Area)
  • Users need to create/select the correct scale map to get the best answer to their question. (Use)
  • The RF is written as a fraction or ratio and behaves like one: a larger fraction means a larger scale, a smaller fraction means a smaller scale. (RF)
The data display (mock up below) would include how  many times a individual student tackled the two formative assessments before achieving success as well as their success (or not) on the summative assessment. These could be compared to the class average.


 Mockup of Assessment Data for Large and Small Intervention

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