How do you assess a student's mind map?
Among the on line material of the Human Resource Development of the University of Minnesota, there is a section devoted to the usage of mind maps in teaching. As well as providing a list of activities for which mind maps are most useful and tips to prepare the students to working with them, it presents a grading rubric to assess an assignment that involved mind mapping in preparation of a writing paper. It mainly focuses on the completeness of the picture given by the map, the accuracy of representation of secondary and primary relationships, its communicative power, and its capability of exploring important connexions between ideas. All this could be integrated with the previously described rubric from Curtin University of Technology, that extended attention to some typical graphic elements of mind mapping and to the contribution of personal opinions on the subject. The University of Minnesota rubric shows that mind mapping was used as a part of the assessment process, and the mind mapping task was closely interconnected with the rest of the assignment, it did not stand on its own. This is exactly what Professor Guastavigna points out in his assessment reflections [I16]: the whole potential of a good mind map will be fully appreciated through its applications, i.e. the well articulated presentation or written paper that follows. A further parameter his own rubric contains is the transferability of the represented structure to other contexts. A mind mapping survey could be associated to the task to stimulate metacognitive awareness, especially if the technique is being experimented for the first time. The one proposed is very much related to the context of application, but a tailor-made one could easily be constructed asking how students liked the new tool, how different it felt compared to traditional methods, if they carried out the task quicker than usual or not, if they imagine why the teacher gave them a mind mapping task and so on.