What is geography’s essential contribution to the general education of young people? To what extent does this contribution match the geographical knowledge and skills that are taught in school? Are these knowledge and skills indeed instilled in young people by the end of secondary education, either through formal education, or along informal lines of learning?
The research in this dissertation firstly aims at finding common ground on what is internationally regarded to be geography’s essential contribution to contemporary general education. This common ground is traced in a series of European geography curricula. An Internet-delivered assessment test – the European Geography Test – is then used to measure pupils’actual level of mastery of “geography’s essential contribution to general education”.
The test-achievements of these pupils from various countries, and hence with various backgrounds in formal geography education, are analysed taking into account the specific national contexts. The results suggest that differences between countries in both scoring patterns and in overall achievement can be traced back to a certain extent to differences in curriculum types.