Assess thinking and reasoning, not maps. The Seeing Reason mapping tool is your window into the development of your students' understanding about a problem or system they investigate. It allows you to monitor their initial understanding and to see their progress in interpretation and integration of information. Assessment should focus on their learning about the problem or context of the study. Avoid assessing the maps themselves. Focus on the development of thinking about the problem or system. Use a series of saved maps to track the changes and students' writing about their understanding over time. Scoring rubrics should look at how a map contributes to understanding of the problem rather than simply the number of factors and relationships in a map.
- Have students review their maps and write about the development of their understanding of the problem or system. Work to keep your language and their writing focused on the system or problem of study, not on the map itself.
- Assess the quality of their explanation of their changes in thinking in relation to the maps. Ask for explanations for the addition or removal of factors or for changes to the relationships among factors.
- Have students reflect directly on the negotiation of ideas with their partner as they built their maps. Ask them to assess the level of agreement between their ideas and to describe how they decided which factors and relationships were valid.
- Pose a thought-provoking scenario that adds a major influence related to the system or problem, and ask them to predict the impact in terms of what it would do to other factors on their maps.
- Have students describe in their own words some aspect of the system the map represents. Ask them to pick the most critical factors that influence this system or problem and explain why they are so critical, using information shown in the relationships defined on the map.
- Ask them to apply what they understand about the mapped context to another context.