ERIC Number: ED206520
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
The Use of Formative Testing in Diagnosing Place Vocabulary Capabilities: A Cross-Cultural Example.
Saveland, Robert N.
A cross-cultural educational research study involving 12,500 students in 13 countries is described, with particular emphasis on one aspect of geographic literacy--place vocabulary skills. Place vocabulary is defined as that component of vocabulary that is concerned with places which are proper nouns and capitalized to show their importance. The underlying premise of this study was that an effective knowledge of place vocabulary is a prerequisite for good citizenship and for making intelligent political and economic decisions. Project developers believe that, while place is a central consideration for geographers, little research has been directed toward what constitutes a working and effective place vocabulary for good citizenship or toward the way in which such a vocabulary is acquired. To provide feedback on place vocabulary capabilities of junior high school students in various parts of the world, a test instrument, The World Basic Place Vocabulary Test, was developed. All 50 test questions dealt with large and populous countries (over four million population and at least 50,000 square miles). Findings from analysis of test scores indicated that students in developing countries generally scored lowest, students in Europe outperformed those in North America, students who studied geography as a separate subject performed better than those in an integrated social studies course, boys in all countries performed better than girls, and students generally knew less about place names than geographers and teachers thought they knew. The conclusion is that educators should focus more attention on improving the knowledge store of adolescents regarding place vocabulary. The document includes appendices which contain copies of the map and test questions and a table indicating the range of scores. (DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (Los Angeles, CA, April 19-21, 1981).