Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Winship, Jodi M. Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-11022004-144902 Title Geographic Literacy and World Knowledge Among Undergraduate College Students Degree Master of Science Department Geography Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Grossman, Lawrence S. Committee Chair Kennedy, Lisa M. Committee Member Morrill, Robert W. Committee Member Keywords
- Geographic Literacy
- Geographic Knowledge
- Geography Education
Date of Defense 2004-08-20 Availability unrestricted AbstractTo succeed in today's globalized world, it is important to understand the places and
cultures outside our own. Yet despite the acknowledged need for and importance of a greater
understanding of the world, various surveys assessing geographic knowledge have demonstrated
the geographic ignorance of people in the U.S. The purpose of this study is to assess the level of
geographic literacy among undergraduate college students and to investigate factors that may
influence geographic literacy.
An on-line survey, adapted from the National Geographic - Roper 2002 Global
Geographic Literacy Survey, was administered to a sample of undergraduate students at Virginia
Tech. The survey included a geography "quiz" to assess knowledge of geography and world
events and a background section to collect information about various factors that may influence
the participants' geographic literacy. Over 400 students participated in the study. The data were
statistically analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis tests for differences in
means. Contrary to much of the previous research, the participants in this survey demonstrated a
good level of geographic knowledge. The mean score of the geography "quiz" was 81 percent.
Some of the factors found to have influence on the scores were gender, international travel,
major, fulfillment of Virginia Tech's Area 7 requirement, frequency of news media access, and
type of news accessed. Age, academic class, GPA, residency status, junior/high school
geography classes, international friends, and knowledge of foreign languages were found to have
little or no influence.
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