Learning Progressions on Map Understanding: A case study of elementary through college students in Korea
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This dissertation aims to develop a reliable and valid assessment tool to measure students’ Learning Progression (LP) on map understanding, identify Korean students’ LP on map understanding, and examine whether there is consistency between the identified LP and current geography curriculum in Korea. The Map Understanding Test (MUT) was developed based on a hypothesized LP on map understanding derived from previous studies. Results from a pilot study and the current study supported the reliability and validity of the MUT as measure of LP. The test was conducted with 1,486 Korean elementary, middle, high school, and college students using the MUT. The MUT consisted of six ordered multiple-choice items, and the response choices aligned with hypothesized ordering of LP. Rasch model was used to statistically analyze the test data via the software package ConstructMap. Wright Maps aligned with hypothesized ordering of the LP and older students scored at higher levels, suggesting a developmental progression. The identified LP based on cross-sectional research showed a common developmental sequence in map understanding. Abilities related to Orientation, Location, and Distance are considered relatively easy whereas abilities related to Scale, Contour lines, and Map projection are considered to be relatively difficult to learn. Other useful insights for developing an effective curriculum were found to be students’ proficiency in map understanding and misconceptions. Lastly, comparison between the identified LP and current geography curriculum in Korea provided several suggestions in curriculum revision. The current geography curriculum in Korea has limitations in sequencing learning contents as well as stating learning objectives explicitly. These results have significance in designing assessments to measure LP, accumulation of knowledge in map learning, and providing empirical evidence refining current curriculum and associated materials for map learning.