The effectiveness of concept-mapping in improving CHM 130 students' achievement

Submitted by Nagib Balfakih on
What is the Purpose of the Assessment?

I found that some students don't make a connection between the chemistry concepts taught, which hinder their deep understanding of the subject.  

Describe the necessity for this assessment

The hypothesis stated that concept mapping is a skill which deepens the understanding of students' chemistry learning; this will be reflected in their achievement today and in the future

Describe how the practice will be implemented

I included concept mapping (CM)  in my teaching since last spring 2018.  In the activity, each student draws his/her concept map.  At the beginning of each semester, I spend part of a lab to teach the students how to draw the CM.  I included the CM activity as part of their journal.  Students draw their CM at the end of each unit.  In this activity, students summarize their understanding of the concepts learned through the CM.

Interpret, compare, and describe the results

Quasi experimental design was used investigate the effectiveness of CM.  The experimental group scored an average of 73.2 in the final exam, whereas the control group average was 71.1.  Both groups started at, almost, the same level, according to their first exam.  Experimental group also has shown deeper understanding in chemistry concepts when they draw CM, one can see it in their cross links among concepts; moreover the quality of answers in stichometry questions.

After analyzing, and reflecting on the outcome, what are the next steps?

Results I got encouraged me to continue the activity with all my classes.  I have reviewed the students’ CM’s and identify the most common misconcepts, I am using this tool to evaluate my students’ understanding AND my teaching performance.  During the last, I have changed my teaching approach, large part of this is my students’ CM.  Today, I have enough data to publish the work in indexed journal. 


The effectiveness of concept mapping (CM) has been investigated in introductory chemistry students' achievement.  The researcher tested the hypothesis which stated that the implementation of concept mapping in teaching introductory chemistry will increase students’' performance.  The sample was two sections, experimental group and control group.  Both groups had taken a pretest.  The experimental group draw CM’s for the units taught.  The units included naming, moles, balancing equation, stoichiometry, and molarity.  At the end of the semester, the performance of both sections, posttest, was compared.  Results of the new approach have shown that students in the experimental group has achieved better, 73.2, compared to the control group, 71.1.  In addition to that, the experimental group has shown deeper understanding when answering the stoichiometry questions.  Moreover, the teacher has learning from the students’ CM’s the frequent misconcepts that his students have; which helped him to modify his teaching for better understanding.

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
CHM 130
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Teri Graham Mon, 02/25/2019 - 9:56am

Thank you for sharing your experience through CATS and I look forward to seeing the effectiveness of concept mapping for introductory chemistry students

Amy Hill Tue, 03/19/2019 - 1:03pm

Very interesting, I have not used concept mapping so I appreciate hearing about your experience!

Nagib Balfakih Tue, 02/25/2020 - 12:38pm

Thank you, Amy, for your comment.  I have completed my CATS toady.  

Catherine Cochran Mon, 04/20/2020 - 4:10pm

Hi Nagib,

Thank you for posting your results.  I love the student examples of the concept mapping.  The concept mapping is a great tool to assist with deeper learning.  

Thank you for sharing!


Linda Benjamin Tue, 04/21/2020 - 1:28pm


Thank You, for sharing and posting your results.  I use concept mapping in nursing and it is really beneficial to learning.  I have found students gain a better understanding of the topic being discussed and brings out critical thinking.

Thank You,