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Progression and expectations in geography

Establish aims

Long-term planning and assessment depends upon teachers having a very clear notion of ‘expectations’ and standards 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 students’ 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.

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.



Assessing progress in primary geography

Assessing progress in key stage 3

Assessing progress in GCSE geography

Non-exam assessment (NEA) guidance


Back to Assessing progress in geography

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