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Title: Using primary school children's cognitive map representations as a means of measuring their overall general mapping ability
Author: Wickstead, Jacqueline Ellen.
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2002
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It is always good geographical practice to start with what is on one's own doorstep. The starting point for this research is even nearer than that. It starts with the child's own internal cognitive map. This research (working within a Piagetian paradigm) attempts to use primary school children's cognitive map representations (drawn and verbal) of two different but familiar large-scale environments as a means of measuring their overall general mapping ability. One of the aims was to construct an instrument that could be used by teachers in their classrooms that would produce reliable and generalisable judgements of primary school children's overall general mapping ability. For the purpose of this research, Hart and Moore's (1973) definition of the term cognitive map representations as including drawings; published maps, vertical aerial photographs, verbal reports and models will be used. The definition for overall general mapping includes separate variables relating to stages of development, cartographic concepts, cartographic features, verbal directional and environmental perception responses, the interpretation of large-scale Ordnance Survey maps and vertical aerial photographs. Although separate variables have been identified and methods developed for their assessment, to date there does not seem to have been an attempt to find an overall general measure. The research questions were "Can a method be developed to measure children's overall general mapping ability?" If so, "Can it be used across the primary age range with a wide variety of pupils at different stages of development?" In addition, "Should an emergent stage be included to accommodate children who could not be placed into a stage of development. Finally, because there is still speculation concerning gender, the question "Are there gender differences in mapping ability?" was also considered. The population comprised three schools and a stratified sample of six boys and six girls from each of the seven primary year groups (252 children). The children were asked to draw maps of two different but familiar large-scale areas, to verbally describe a route on each map, indicate their environmental perception responses, identify features on large scale Ordnance Survey maps and vertical aerial photographs of both familiar areas. The stages of development variable, producing a qualitative measure, although interrelated, was not compatible with the other variables producing a quantitative measure. This was considered as a separate variable and used as an indicator of any correlation between stages of development and the variables producing a quantitative measure. Although the results relating to the stages of development variable highlighted complexities, the majority of children's drawn cognitive map representations were placed at the projective one stage of development. The results of the overall general mapping ability variable showed that, for the sample as a whole, the mean of pupil performances on Map Area B was significantly higher than the mean of Map Area A. Although there is still speculation about gender differences the results showed that there were no significant differences between girls and boys overall.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education & training Education