Student Learning Gaps Between AP Human Geography and World Geography
Mazzotti, Anna K.
This directed research aims to address the growing number of students in Texas who take Advanced Placement Human Geography (APHG) in the ninth grade, and who may not be well equipped to take such a rigorous course. This project analyzed the differences between the APHG curriculum and the Texas Education Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for World Geography Studies at the 9th grade level to better understand the rigor and skill required for incoming first-year high school students. A comparison of the AP Course and Exam Description with the TEKS was made to determine what specific knowledge and skills would be required of a student who enrolls in AP Human Geography versus a student who enrolls in World Geography Studies. For many 9th grade students in Texas, APHG is offered as a substitute for the on-level World Geography Studies. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analyzed from secondary sources to help answer the question of when it is most beneficial for students to take APHG. Secondary data analyzed included APHG exam scores by grade level in Texas. Additionally, the similarities and differences in geographic content between the two courses were assessed to identify subject matter a student may not learn from taking APHG over the on-level world geography course. The major findings of this study prove there is merit in the growing concern of 9th grade students not being adequately prepared to take a rigorous course such as APHG. This study also shows that there are in fact gaps in geographic education curriculum when comparing a regular World Geography course with the curriculum of APHG. If 9th grade students have the foundational geographical skills of an on level regular World Geography course prior to taking AP Human Geography, it is more likely they will perform better on the AP Human Geography exam. This study helps compare geographic education curriculum with a regular World Geography course with the curriculum of AP Human Geography to determine preparedness for an AP Human Geography course. If 9th grade students have the foundational geographical skills of an on level regular World Geography course prior to taking AP Human Geography, it is more likely they will perform better on the AP Human Geography Exam. The results of this study can inform efforts to find a solution as to how school district personnel can make better decisions for students in high school geography enrollments.
advanced placement, human geography, world geography, achievement gaps
Mazzotti, A. K. (2023). Student learning gaps between AP human geography and world geography. Masters of Applied Geography, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.