GEOGRAPHY COGNITIVE PROCESSES

The Australian Geography Competition (AGC) reports to students, teachers and schools on students’ scores, specifically highlighting achievement in the cognitive domains outlined in the Trends in International Geography Assessment Study’s Framework. These domains are part of a proposal to include geography in the Earth Science strand of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) assessment from 2023. See www.tigas2023.com for more information.

The cognitive domain is divided into three dimensions that describe the thinking processes students are expected to engage in while studying geography. The first dimension, knowing, addresses the student’s ability to recall, recognise, describe, and provide examples of facts, concepts, and procedures that are necessary for a solid foundation in geography. The second dimension, applying, focuses on using this knowledge to compare, contrast and classify concepts; relating knowledge of a geography concept to a specific context; generating explanations; and solving practical problems. The third dimension, reasoning, includes using evidence and geographic understanding to analyze, synthesize, and generalize, often in unfamiliar situations and complex contexts.

Knowing

Items in this dimension assess students’ knowledge of facts, concepts, relationships and processes. Accurate and broad-based factual and conceptual knowledge enables students to successfully engage in the more complex cognitive activities essential to geographic understanding.

Recall/Recognize

Identify or state facts, relationships, and concepts; recognize and use geographic vocabulary, symbols, abbreviations, units, and scales.

Describe

Describe or identify descriptions of physical and human environments and their interaction.

Provide Examples

Provide    or     identify    examples    of    physical     and    human environments and their interaction.

Applying

Items in this dimension require students to engage in applying knowledge of facts, concepts, relationships, procedures and methods in contexts likely to be familiar in the teaching and learning of geography (e.g. global climate zones) or where the item stem contains the essential information that students need to familiarise themselves with a specific spatial example.

Compare/Contrast/Classify

Identify or describe similarities and differences between physical and human environments and their interaction.

Relate

Relate knowledge of an underlying geographic concept to physical and human environments and their interaction.

Use Models

Use a diagram or model to demonstrate knowledge of geographic concepts, to illustrate a process, cycle, relationship, or system, or to find solutions to geographic problems.

Interpret Information

Use knowledge of geographic concepts to interpret relevant visual, verbal, numerical, textual and spatial information.

Explain

Provide or identify an explanation for an observation or a natural or human phenomenon using a geographic concept or principle.

Reasoning

Items in this dimension require students to engage in reasoning to analyze data and other information, draw conclusions, and extend their understandings to new contexts. In contrast to the more direct applications of geographic facts and concepts exemplified in the applying dimension, items in the reasoning dimension likely involve more complicated contexts. Answering such items can involve more than one approach or strategy. Geographic reasoning also encompasses developing hypotheses and designing geographic inquiries.

Analyze

Identify the elements of a geographic problem and use relevant information, concepts, relationships, and data patterns to answer questions and solve problems.

Synthesize

Answer questions that require consideration of a number of different factors or related concepts.

Formulate Questions/ Hypothesize/Predict

Formulate questions that can be answered by inquiry and predict results of an investigation given information about the design; formulate testable assumptions based on conceptual understanding and knowledge from experience, observation, and/or analysis of geographic information; and use evidence and conceptual understanding to make predictions about the effects of changes in physical and human environments.

Design Inquiry

Plan (field) inquiries or procedures appropriate for answering geographic questions.

Evaluate

Evaluate alternative explanations; weigh advantages and disadvantages to make decisions about alternative processes; and evaluate results of inquiry with respect to sufficiency of data to support conclusions.

Draw Conclusions

Make valid inferences on the basis of observations, evidence, and/or understanding of geographic concepts; and draw appropriate conclusions that address questions or hypotheses, and demonstrate understanding of cause and effect.

Generalize

Make general conclusions that go beyond the inquiry or given conditions; apply conclusions to new situations.

Justify

Use evidence and geographic understanding to support the reasonableness of explanations, solutions to problems, and conclusions from inquiry based on explicit criteria.

This information has been taken from: TIGAS Draft Framework 2023: Trends in International Geography Assessment Study, 2019, accessed 2/9/20, <http://www.tigas2023.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/ 04/TIGAS-assessment-framework_Final.pdf>.

Classification of 2020 Competition Questions

Q

Domain

Skill

1

Applying

Interpret Information

2

Applying

Interpret Information

3

Applying

Interpret Information

4

Reasoning

Analysing

5

Reasoning

Draw Conclusion

6

Applying

Interpret Information

7

Reasoning

Analysing

8

Reasoning

Analysing

9

Reasoning

Analysing

10

Applying

Interpret Information

11

Applying

Interpret Information

12

Applying

Interpret Information

13

Reasoning

Draw Conclusion

14

Applying

Interpret Information

15

Applying

Interpret Information

16

Applying

Interpret Information

17

Applying

Interpret Information

18

Applying

Interpret Information

19

Applying

Interpret Information

20

Applying

Interpret Information

21

Knowing

Recall/Recognising

22

Applying

Interpret Information

23

Reasoning

Analysing

24

Reasoning

Analysing

25

Applying

Interpret Information

26

Knowing

Recall/Recognising

27

Applying

Interpret Information

28

Knowing

Recall/Recognising

29

Knowing

Recall/Recognising

30

Knowing

Recall/Recognising

31

Reasoning

Draw Conclusion

32

Reasoning

Analysing

33

Reasoning

Draw Conclusion

34

Knowing

Recall/Recognising

35

Reasoning

Draw Conclusion

36

Reasoning

Draw Conclusion

37

Applying

Interpret Information

38

Reasoning

Analysing

39

Reasoning

Analysing

40

Reasoning

Draw Conclusion

41

Applying

Interpret Information

42

Reasoning

Analysing

43

Applying

Interpret Information

44

Applying

Interpret Information

45

Applying

Using Models

46

Applying

Interpret Information

47

Reasoning

Analysing

48

Reasoning

Analysing

49

Applying

Interpret Information

50

Reasoning

Draw Conclusion