Using an Evidence-Based Approach to Assess Mental Models

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This chapter describes a new idea for the design and development of assessments for mental models using “flexible belief networks” (FBNs). The idea involves joining and extending two assessment approaches—evidence-centered design (ECD) and concept mapping (CM). ECD will be extended beyond single, static proficiency models to dynamic models of learning over time. CM will be extended to include belief networks, which may be accomplished by overlaying concept maps with Bayesian networks. Our goal is to derive a methodology to better assess mental models as they evolve over time, with valid inferences regarding both syntactic (structural) and semantic (conceptual) similarities to reference models. This work leverages the seminal research conducted in the area of assess- ing mental models by Norbert M. Seel.