Integrating multiple ways of thinking and hands-on activities into GIS summative tests

Authors: Paddington Hodza*, Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center, Jeffrey Hamerlinck, Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center, Margo Berendsen, Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Geography Education
Keywords: Conceptual framework, Summative assessment, Spatial thinking, GIS assessment
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8224, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


GIS courses generally focus on teaching and learning about the principles, concepts and applications of GIS. The GIS learning process takes place through minds-on and hands-on activities involving multiple ways of thinking such as spatial, geographic, visual and computational. Virtually all of what students learn can be described by the core elements (e.g. spatial concepts, spatial significance, graphical representations, and geographic patterns) of these thinking modalities which are invoked when individuals create, use and maintain GIS. Determining the degree to which students have mastered these elements at the end of a course can generate valuable feedback for enhancing the educational experience, and provide a compelling window into how well they might perform in advanced GIS courses or the geospatial industry. But, current summative tests incorporating only multiple choice or short answer or both types of questions are inadequately crafted to effectively assess students on the full range of the knowledge and skills they are expected to achieve at the conclusion of a course. A coherent conceptual framework which connects learning outcomes and thinking modalities, and is needed to guide the preparation of sound GIS summative assessments does not exist. This paper aims to contribute to rectifying course misalignment by developing a conceptual framework for integrating multiple ways of thinking and GIS software-based exercises into summative assessments. Based on this framework, we design a hybrid test for introductory GIS courses which we discuss in relation to relevant knowledge areas of the GIS&T BoK, applicable thinking modalities, and AP GIS&T course topics.

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