|dc.description.abstract||Henk Notté, geographer and test constructor at Cito Institute, has developed a test (the gea-test) in order to measure geographical awareness amongst scholars aged 10 to 18 years old. The test is expected to distinguish scholars with a strongly developed geographical awareness from those with a less developed geographical awareness and to translate these outcomes into a score.
Being a part of its validity research this thesis revolves around the question: ‘on what type of
geographical knowledge scholars base their answers, when answering questions of the gea-test and what does that imply for the validity of the test? ’. This research takes a closer look to the reasoning behind a good or wrong answered question. Why can a scholar answer the question correctly? Do certain misconceptions exist within geographical education?
The research method used in this thesis are ‘thinking-aloud’-protocols, a research method often perceived as being extremely time-consuming and therefore rarely used. Because this method has never been applied on larger scales this research offers a unique insight in what goes on in the scholar’s mind when asked to answer a geographical question.
In the first part of the research scholars were asked to make the gea-test consisting out of 35
randomly selected questions. Afterwards, scholars with either exceptionally high or low scores or scores equal to the class average were selected for the ‘thinking-aloud’-protocols, a total of 24 scholars have participated in the protocols. During the ‘thinking-aloud’-protocols scholars were asked to make each six preliminary selected exercises while thinking and reasoning aloud. This allows the researcher to clarify why a pupil has chosen a certain answer.
The concept of geographical awareness comprises out of nine different skills and abilities: photo-interpretation, map and graph reading, scales, comparisons, factual knowledge, thematic mental map, topographical mental map, conceptual knowledge and principal knowledge. These skills were all evaluated and quantified during the ‘thinking-aloud-protocols’ and made a comparison possible between the outcomes of the gea-test and the ‘thinking-aloud’-protocols could have been made by computer program TiaPlus.
Based on the results we can say that when answering questions of the gea-test scholars aged 11 to 12 mainly use the skills: scale, topographical mental map and conceptual knowledge while scholars aged 14 to 15 mostly have used the skills: thematic mental map, topographical mental map and conceptual knowledge and principal knowledge.
These results have led to the conclusion that the gea-test does make a rightful distinction between scholars with a strongly and scholars with a lesser developed geographical awareness.
This conclusion indicates that the gea-test is a valid method to evaluate the scholars capability
regarding geographical skills such as the use of scales, topographical and thematic mental maps, conceptual knowledge and principal knowledge.||