Status of Geography in High School Graduation Requirements
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Status of Geography in High School Graduation Requirements and Exit Exams GENIP Report, 2005. Geographic Education National Implementation Project (GENIP) Prepared by Jessica K. Wdowiarz April 22, 2005. Presentation. Introduction Literature Review Organization of Wdowiarz Report

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Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Status of Geography in High School Graduation Requirements

and Exit Exams

GENIP Report, 2005

Geographic Education National Implementation Project (GENIP)

Prepared by Jessica K. Wdowiarz

April 22, 2005


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Presentation

  • Introduction

  • Literature Review

  • Organization of Wdowiarz Report

  • Use of Report

  • Summary of Findings

  • Questions/Answers


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Introduction

Question:

Which states require geography as part of high school graduation requirements? Is this geography part of state assessments?

Required assessments- Exit Exams

The Wdowiarz Report:

1. Updates geography in high school graduation requirements

2. Updates geography in high school assessment

3. Presents geography content in required high school exit exams


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Introduction

Sources for the Wdowiarz Report

Background

  • Meetings with Michael Cohen from Achieve, Inc.; Keith Gayler from the Center on Education Policy; Barbara Chow, Chris Shearer, and David Rutherford.

  • U.S. Department of Education Web sites

    - National Center for Education Statistics

  • State DOE Web sites

  • State by state surveys

  • Moore Report (2004) and Dean Report (2002)


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Literature Review

American Diploma Project (ADP) Achieve, Inc.

2005. Rising to the Challenge: Are High Schools Graduates Prepared for College Work?

2004. The Expectations Gap: A 50 State Review of High School Graduation Requirements.

2004. Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma that Counts.

Center on Education Policy (CEP)

2002. State High School Exit Exams: A Baseline Report.

2003. State High School Exit Exams: Put to the Test.

2004. State High School Exit Exams: A Mature Reform.


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Organization of Report

  • Written Report

  • Section I. Update of Geography High School Graduation Requirements

  • Section II. Update of Geography in High School Assessment

  • Section III. Geography in High School Exit Exams

  • Section IV.Individual State Summaries

  • Appendices I, II, III


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Section I

Geography in High School Graduation Requirements


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

http://www.achieve.org/dstore.nsf/Lookup/coursetaking/$file/coursetaking.pdf


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Summary of Findings

Geography in High School Graduation Requirements

  • Eleven states require geography courses for high school graduation(CA, D.C., KY, ME, MN, NM, RI, SD, TX, UT, VA)

  • 28.61% (3,938,030) of U.S. high school students are required to take geography for high school graduation(calculated from NCES 2001 statistics)

  • KY, NM, TX, UT are the four states that have remained stable in requiring geography for high school graduation from 2002-2005. States have fluctuated from the Dean Report (2002), Moore Report (2004) , and the Wdowiarz Report (2005).

  • Graduation Requirements can be controlled in three ways:

    - State-controlled courses and credit hours (26 states and D.C.)

    - State-controlled credit hours, district-controlled courses (14 states)

    - Complete district-controlled (courses and credit hours) (10 states)


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

What can GENIP do?

Possible Approach:

  • Include geography in popular subjects largely assessed under social studies. “Piggy-back” content incorporating Geography standards.

    - U.S. History would add 18 states

    - World History would add five states


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Section II

Geography in High School Assessments


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Types of Assessment

Standards-Based Tests(SBT) – Exams that measure a student’s knowledge or skills set in place to identify key areas a student should know.

End-of-Course Exams (EOC) - Exams taken after the completion of a specific course that assess content material covered from the curricula. (AK, MD, MS, MS, NY, OK, TN ,VA)

Criterion-Referenced Tests (CRT)- Tests that assess predetermined criteria for what a student should know.

Norm-Referenced Tests (NRT) – Tests that are bought from a testing company, useful for comparison of students to national average.

Minimum Competency/Basic Skills Exams (MC/BS) – Exams that measure a student’s knowledge of the ‘essentials’, or what a student should know to gain employment, function in society, or continue their education. (IA, MN, NE, NC, UT)


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Summary of Findings (continued)

Geography in High School Assessment

  • Twenty-three states have social studies assessments, 16 states include geography under the social studies standards assessed. (CA, DE, GA, KS, LA, MD, MI, MS, NH, NM, NY, OH, OR, SD, TX, VA).

  • 48.65% (6,681,243) of high school students in the U.S. can test in geography.

  • Virginia is the only state which offers a stand-alone geography test.

  • Twelve states allow district controlled assessment.(AK, CO, IA, KS, ME, MT, NE, NH, OR, PA, SD, VT)

  • The most common assessments are standards-based (63%).The second largest are end-of-course exams (15%), used by 7 states, five more considering.

  • Twenty-eight states do not assess outside of NCLB requirementsof math, reading, and science.


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

What can GENIP do?

Possible Approach:

  • A prime opportunity for GENIP to promote geography is to target end-of-course exams for states or districts that offer/require geography courses in high school. They provide more opportunity to test geography standards than a combined social studies assessments.

  • GENIP can target states that are in the process of adopting/changing assessments and standards.

  • Target states that assess social studies but not geography (AL, KY, MA, NE, OK, TN)


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Section III

Geography in High School Exit Exams


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Geography Content in Exit Exams


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Geography Content in Exit Exams

In New York theRegents Exams can have various forms.

Although the exam is mainly composed of history,

a third of the exam is reserved for geography.

Global History and Geography Regents Exams Specifications Grid (New York)


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Test Developers

  • The degree to which a contractor is involved with assessment development varies. Some states develop their own questions, frameworks, etc. Others rely entirely on the contractors. This information is provided in the state summaries.

  • The most mentioned contractors for high school exit exams were:

    - CTB/McGraw-Hill (AL, IN, MA, NM, WA)

    - American Institute for Research (CA, OH, SC), Measured Progress (NV, UT), Pierson Education Measurement (SC, TN)

  • Arizona, Louisiana, Minnesota, and New York develop their exit exams without a contractor.


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Summary of Findings (continued)

Geography in High School Exit Exams

  • By 2008, 25 states will be implementing exit exams.

  • Eleven states require students to pass a social studies exit exam,eight of them test geography. (GA, LA, MD, MS, NM, NY, OH, TX).

  • 30.23% (3,925,951)of all U.S. high school students are taking geography in an exit exam (calculated from NCES 2001 statistics).

  • Only five separate geography from other social studies strands when reported. (GA, LA, MS, NY, TX).

  • Georgia and New York offer the most geography in their social studies exit exams (GA- 34%; NY- 30-36%)

  • No state requires a stand-alone geography exit exam.


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Rationale for Assessment

States mentioned they do not to use exit exams because:

  • District-controlled assessment

  • State laws already in place

  • Lack of funding

  • Following NCLB requirements

    States mentioned they do not assess social studies because:

  • Lack of funding for new assessments

  • Following NCLB requirements

  • Adoption of new subjects is a slow process

  • The state feels the current assessment is sufficient

    States mentioned they do not assess geography because:

  • The exams in use are history exams, specifically chosen as the primary social studies assessment. (AL, MA, VA)


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

What can GENIP do?

  • Possible Approach:

  • States are not using exit exams or testing social studies are abstaining for viable reasons. It is not likely that their status will/can change in the near future.

  • May be able to separate geography in social studies tests by redesigning score reporting.

  • For states that do assess geography, GENIP can lobby for more geography content, or better questions.


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Quality of Geography in Exit Exams?

  • If GENIP were to create a geography exit exam question bank, would it be beneficial to states for test development?

  • Of the 25 states asked, only 4 states expressed interest(LA, MS, NV, NC) in having out-of-state developed questions available. Six states mentioned that they are interested, but there are problems with adopting out-of-state developed questions, like bidding processes, item reviews, or the states simply do not have a social studies exam to use them.

  • 15 states said they would not be interested.

    What kind of questions are they asking anyway?


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Sample Geography Questions

I

III

II

IV

  • What Roman numeral on the map above correctly shows the location of the Great Plains?

  • A. I

  • B. II

  • C. III

  • D. IVMississippi

http://www.punchstock.com/image/map_resources/1626556/comp/usa_conic-1319.jpg


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Sample Geography Questions

2. Before the Silk Road, how did geography affect early China?

A. The mountains and deserts in western and southwestern China slowed the exchange of ideas.

B.The northwestern region provided many fertile areas suitable for farming.

C.The three major river systems provided barriers against invasion.

D.The lack of deep-water ports on the eastern coast prevented China from developing trade with other nations. New York

E. (So Chris would pass) All of the Above


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Individual State Summaries

NOT IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

Categorized according to geography content in exit exams

Category I: States that do not use exit exams

Category II: States that do use exit exams, but do not assess social studies.

Category III:States that use exit exams, assess social studies, but do not test geography.

Category IV:States that use exit exams, assess geography, but do not report sub-scores separate from social studies.

Category V:States that use exit exams, assess geography, and report sub-scores separately.


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Quick Overall Summary

  • Eight states test geography in an exit exam. (GA, LA, MD, MS, NM, NY, OH, TX). Five of them report geography scores separate (GA, LA, MS, NY, TX).

  • 30.23% (3,925,951)of all U.S. high school students are taking geography in an exit exam.

  • Sixteen states include geography under the social studies standards assessed. (CA, DE, GA, KS, LA, MD, MI, MS, NH, NM, NY, OH, OR, SD, TX, VA).

  • 48.65% (6,681,243) of high school students in the U.S. can be assessed in geography.

  • Eleven states require geography courses for high school graduation (CA, D.C., KY, ME, MN, NM, RI, SD, TX, UT, VA).

  • 28.61% (3,938,030) of U.S. high school students are required to take geography for high school graduation (calculated from NCES 2001 statistics).

  • District control has an impact on a researcher’s ability to measure geography in education.


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Implications for Future

  • Washington, New Jersey, and Texas mentioned a reevaluation of traditional social studies, expecting students to know less of date/place/person specifics, and more about the general concepts about the processes at work throughout history. Geography is the best subject to illustrate these processes. The great advantage of geography is versatility in the curriculum. Unfortunately, this flexibility is also geography’s downfall, as it is less likely for specific geography courses to be developed.

  • GENIP may consider merging geography with history; this would statistically increase the amount of geography in schools. As for increasing the quality of geography education, GENIP may consider focusing on end-of-course exams, or course-specific graduation requirements.


Status of geography in high school graduation requirements and exit exams genip report 2005

Questions and Answers?

http://plasma.nationalgeographic.com/pdf/Ford_Classroom_NGM_Insert.pdf


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