Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nation's Report Card on Geography 2011: Students Still Geographically Ignorant

Earlier this year we learned from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) that American students on average know little about civics or history.  Yesterday the NAEP released the "Nation's Report" on Geography.  Bottom line up front: American students do not know geography.

The following news source sum up the report better than I can:
Scores with fourth-graders have "improved" but this is a slight change still well within failure's margin and nothing to take pride in.

The full report along with the executive summary can be downloaded from the NAEP's website.

Side note:  The questions asked by the NAEP are much more diverse than the standard "where is X country?"  NAEP's questions involve land use, map reading, spatial reasoning, climatology, and much more.  Test yourself on sample questions asked of fourth, eighth, and twelfth graders.


Tony Burton said...

Which is precisely why people need to read geography blogs... especially this one and Geo-Mexico!! Keep fighting! Tony

Catholicgauze said...

Or read excellent text books like Geo-Mexico. Seriously Tony, if all texts were as well rounded, educational, and enjoyable as your's geography would be better off in school.

smeeko said...

I see several issues before we can hope in better Geography literacy in the US. Here are some:
1. US news media does not talk much other parts of the world, unless there is a huge event, but even then, often the location of the place is never discussed and there is no follow up, when the hype is over.
2. Most people don't realize that what happens in other countries does, or will, affect our life one way or another. If we can change this misconception, the interest in Geography will grow naturally. A lot of people are just worried about their own little backyard, the weekend BBQ, their I-Pod, videogames... Changing the mentality is a very important step toward increasing global awareness. It's not an easy task though.
I am hoping to launch a series of educational videos on my website soon. We live in a visual society. Books are great, but most people, especially young people (my kids are an exception to the rule), don't read anymore. Blessings. Enrico (www.geokid.org)