Concept Map-Based Assessment Made Quick & Easy

Learn how to efficiently create, assign, and analyze concept mapping activities with Sero!

6 minutes

Table of Contents

Several steps above the typical multiple-choice assessment, this tactile and visual tool challenges kids to think critically about big ideas.

Common Sense Education

Though the efficacy of concept mapping for assessment has been well-established, the time and effort normally required to design, administer, and grade such assessments has made them impractical for many.

A solution to that dilemma is Sero!. 

Sero!’s unique, award-winning technology leverages concept mapping best practices in a convenient and user-friendly platform.

Now, educators and learners alike can reap the cognitive benefits of concept mapping with a fraction of the effort!

What sets Sero! apart from other mapping tools?

Beyond the basics

Like other mapping tools, Sero! breaks down concept maps’ key components—concepts, linking phrases, lines, and arrowheads—and makes them easy to create, drag, edit, save, and submit.

However, those are just the basics.

What sets Sero! apart are the advanced authoring supports, item types, and analytic features that it also includes.

Concept map with assessment items
Assessment in action

Sero! incorporates the latest research-based approaches to help educators create assessments that are valid and reliable. 

Automated reports quickly analyze and aggregate maps to highlight trends, gaps, and misconceptions in individual and group thinking

Conglomerate view of group results

The result is a learning and assessment experience that is immersive, effective, and efficient for learners and assessors alike.

Sero! assessment types

Skeleton Map​

Sero!’s Skeleton Maps are based on what research has shown is the most valid approach to concept map-based assessment.

Skeleton Map assessment

Skeleton Maps offer Learners a partial view of the structure and content of information they are expected to know.

This is modeled after an exemplar (usually teacher-made) Master Map. 

Learners can use six different methods to fill in (interpolate), extend (extrapolate), correct, or rearrange elements of the map.

Cognitive research shows that this kind of activity exercises higher-order thinking skills!

Fill-in item in action
Selecting level of difficulty

Flexibility in authoring allows assessors to adjust the difficulty for various assessment purposes and skill levels.

Instantaneous, automated scoring allows Learners to receive immediate feedback and assessors to see misconceptions and learning gaps at a glance.

Learner assessment results


Sero!’s Build-a-Map provides Learners with only concepts and linking phrases, challenging them to structure a concept map that best answers a focus question.

Compared to the Skeleton Map, this approach allows for more diverse expression of individual thinking.

Build-a-Map in action

For learners, the Build-a-Map experience offers them the opportunity to express their unique mental models and see how they compare to an exemplar, and to other learners’ models.

For assessors, Build-a-Map results instantly generate a collective mental model—a snapshot of a group’s understanding of a topic with emphasis on areas of consensus and divergent thinking.

This collective model reveals opportunities for targeted whole-class instruction. 

It also provides a benchmark for gauging cognitive growth over time.

Build-a-Map group results
Results inform instruction

This collective model reveals opportunities for targeted whole-class instruction. 

It also provides a benchmark for gauging cognitive growth over time.

Building on the research

Sero! is supported by the work of a global community of researchers and practitioners. 

For each of Sero!’s features, there’s a base of empirical evidence that supports their inclusion. Here’s just a few examples.

Skeleton Map Items

Skeleton Map item
  • We’ve published about Multiple-choice items in concept maps (Moon et al., 2010). Sas (2010) wrote a dissertation about them!
  • Our friends at USP in Brazil have led the way on Error correct items (Correia et al., 2020).
  • Links that cross the map — “crosslinks” — have long been cited as a critical indicator of complex structure (Quinn et al., 2003). 


  • Tsukasa Hirashima at Hiroshima University and colleagues have been exploring this approach for over a decade (Hirashima et al., 2011).
Build-a-Map item


  • Sero! answers a need for an efficient approach to concept mapping-based assessment.

  • What chiefly sets Sero! apart from other mapping tools is its focus on evidence-based practices and automated authoring and analytic tools.

  • Sero!’s Skeleton Maps and Build-a-Maps offer two different flexible assessment approaches, each with their own advantages

Read Next


Correia, P. R. M., Aguiar, J., & Moon, B. (2020). Using concept maps with errors to identify misconceptions: the role of instructional design to create large-scale on-line solutions. In Pedagogy for Conceptual Thinking and Meaning Equivalence: Emerging Research and Opportunities (pp. 117–134). IGI Global.

Hirashima, T., Yamasaki, K., Fukuda, H., & Funaoi, H. (2011, June). Kit-build concept map for automatic diagnosis. In International conference on artificial intelligence in education (pp. 466-468). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Moon, B., Ross, K., & Phillips, J. (2010). Concept Map-based Assessment for Adult Learners. In Proceedings of the Fourth International Concept Mapping Conference (CMC).

Quinn, H. J., Mintzes, J. J., & Laws, R. A. (2003). Successive concept mapping: Assessing understanding in college science classes. Journal of College Science Teaching33(3), 12–16.

Sas, I. C. (2010). The Multiple-choice Concept Map (MCCM): An Interactive Computer-Based Assessment Method.