Geografia na maturze – zróżnicowanie merytoryczne i ocena zadań… z arkuszy egzaminacyjnych w latach 2005–2011
Geography on the high school final examinations – the substantive diversity and the assessment of the tasks from examination sheets in the years 2005–2011
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The paper presents a substantive and methodological assessment of the tasks and the trends in changes in the scope of knowledge and skills tested during the final examinations (matura) at Polish high schools in the years 2005–2011. The examination sheets contained a various number of tasks (27–38). They included open-ended and closed-ended tasks. With a total of 14 sheets, closed-ended tasks predominated in 9 sheets, open-ended tasks prevailed in 4 sheets, while the number of open-ended and closed-ended tasks was equal in one sheet (Table 1). Typically, more tasks were prepared to verify knowledge than to check skills (Table 2). The number of closed-ended tasks and the tasks verifying knowledge increased, while the number of open-ended tasks and the tasks checking skills decreased. These unfavourable trends were observed at the high school final examinations in the years 2005–2011. Out of the 14 sheets, tasks related to geography of the world predominated in 9 sheets, while tasks related to geography of Poland prevailed in 5 sheets (Table 2). At the high school final examination at the basic level, a greater emphasis was put on the knowledge of geography of Poland, while at the extended level – on the geography of the world. At high school final examinations prevailed tasks related to socio-economic geography (42%). 33% of the tasks concerned physical geography, 15% – regional geography, and 10% – cartography and world time calculation. In individual sheets at the basic level, the tasks related to socio-economic geography accounted for 29–44% of all tasks, while at the extended level – 32–56%. In the extended version of high school final examinations, a considerable number of tasks (25–45%) was associated also with physical geography. Typically, significantly fewer tasks of this type were prepared for the basic level (9–32%). However 18–30% of the tasks put there were related to regional geography – considerably more than in the sheets at the extended level (10–21%). The smallest number of tasks at high school final examinations concerned cartography and world time calculation (basic level: 10–19%, extended level: 3–17%). The number of points for the tasks in the aforementioned groups was not always proportional to the number of tasks. The highest number of tasks and related points at the basic and extended examinations was associated with the knowledge of facts and the ability to draw conclusions from the texts, illustrations, maps, and models attached to the tasks (36% of the tasks and points). The second most numerous group included tasks related to the knowledge of events concerning the contemporary political, social and economic situation in Poland, and in the world (basic level: 22% of tasks and 23% of points, extended level: 26% of tasks and points). In the extended-level sheets, there were more tasks concerning explanation of the processes and phenomena occurring in the geographical environment than in the sheets at the basic level; also more points were awarded for them (17% and 18%; 15% and 14%). In the basic version of the high school final examination, twice as many tasks relating to the work with maps were included than in the extended version (16% and 8%) and twice as many points (16% and 6%) could be obtained. Tasks related to the astronomical bases of geography and related points at both levels of requirements constituted 3%/6% and 3%/7% respectively, of the total number of tasks. The number of tasks verifying the knowledge of concepts and definitions, as well as the number of points were similar in the sheets at both levels (8%/9% and 7%/7% respectively) (Table 4). Some errors and inaccuracies were unfortunately not avoided at the high school final examinations (Table 16). The highest number of mistakes was observed in the basic level sheet of the high school final examination of 2005 (in 29% of the tasks). At subsequent examinations, errors occurred in a few tasks. The model of the sheet developed for the first high school final examination has not changed significantly for 7 years.
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