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Establish aims

Long-term planning and assessment depends upon teachers having a very clear notion of ‘expectations’ within their minds, and a clear vision of what we are trying to achieve. These are the big objectives of geography teaching.

The three aspects of pupils’ achievements in geography:

  • contextual world knowledge of locations, places and geographical features
  • understanding of the conditions, processes and interactions that explain features and distributions, patterns and changes over time and space
  • competence in geographical enquiry the application of skills in observing, collecting, analysing, mapping and communicating geographical information.

These three fundamental aspects of advancing pupils achievement in geography are based on the GA’s view of three types of knowledge outlined in the GA‘s Curriculum Proposals and Rationale.

What does this progress in geography look like? These broad dimensions of progress, or what it means to get better at geography are essential when thinking about both planning for progression and assessment.

The dimensions of progress in geography:

  • demonstrating greater fluency with world knowledge by drawing on increasing breadth and depth of content and contexts
  • extending from the familiar and concrete to the unfamiliar and abstract
  • making greater sense of the world by organising and connecting information and ideas about people, places, processes and environments
  • working with more complex information about the world, including the relevance of people’s attitudes, values and beliefs
  • increasing the range and accuracy of pupils’ investigative skills, and advancing their ability to select and apply these with increasing independence to geographical enquiry.

How these link to the three aspects of advancing pupils’ achievement are illustrated in the table here.

Get to grips with the national curriculum

You should also have a grasp of the details of the national curriculum; its aims and purpose as well as the content for the key stages. The aims are set out clearly in the geography programmes of study.

Apply an understanding of assessment

We need an understanding of progression and assessment and its relationship to planning, teaching and achievement. In this Teaching Geography article, Paul Weeden and John Hopkin identify some issues that geography teachers will need to consider when making decisions about their approach to assessment. You may find it useful to read this think piece on assessment written by the Geography Expert Advisory Group in July 2014. For key stage 1 and 2 teachers this article will be useful.

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