Concept maps as an assessment tool for evaluating students' perception of entrepreneurial mind-set

Marissa Mary Martine, Lia X. Mahoney, Christina M. Sunbury, John Austin Schneider, Cory Hixson, Cheryl A. Bodnar

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

    2 Scopus citations


    With today's growing competitive economic market, having an entrepreneurial mindset can be instrumental for success. An entrepreneurial mindset encompasses the way a person thinks about a new idea, product, or innovation [1]. It can include elements such as approaches to product development, the ability to mitigate risk, creating new professional networks, and the ability to accept failure [2]. Students in both engineering and business can benefit from these skills, as these skills have widespread application in today's professional environments. In order to better understand how both business and engineering students perceived the term “entrepreneurial mindset,” this study utilized concept mapping to visually elicit business and engineering students' perspectives. Concept mapping is a useful assessment tool since it outlines relationships between ideas and concepts [3]. Using a concept map, it is possible to observe how students connect different attributes and topics to an overarching theme (in our case: “entrepreneurial mindset”). Two different methods of scoring concept maps were used: traditional and holistic. Using the concept maps, this study aimed to determine whether there were any observable differences between the two scoring methods. It also sought to determine whether concept maps produced by engineering undergraduates differed from those produced by business undergraduates In total, 19 engineering students and 6 business students participated in this study. We found that holistic and traditional scoring methods provided similar evaluation of the concept maps. The scoring methods were only able to reproducibly score the lower scoring concept maps whereas the remaining maps showed more variability. These differences may be due to the priorities of each scoring method. Traditional scoring is based on the quantity of information portrayed and the ability to create connections between topics. Holistic scoring is based on the range of topics involved with the main subject, the structure of the concept map, and the quality and correctness of each concept and connection. There were no statistically significant differences found between the traditionally and holistically scored concepts maps for either major although a medium effect size was observed when comparing participants' holistic comprehensiveness scores across disciplines. Results from this study demonstrate that when seeking to evaluate students' perceptions of an entrepreneurial mindset, the application of holistic scoring methods may be more effective in distinguishing detailed conceptual knowledge. Alternatively, the traditional scoring method may be more helpful when seeking a broader understanding of students' knowledge of a concept. Overall, each scoring method has its own benefits and disadvantages; therefore, the evaluation method selected should be based upon the focus of the research.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
    StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
    Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
    Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Engineering(all)


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