Six measuring instruments will be used in the major study:
NAEP geography items A pre and post-intervention NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) activity has been prepared using the public-domain geography items. Both versions of the instrument have been approved by ETS (Educational Testing Service).
Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT) CogAT is a K-12 assessment that measures verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal reasoning. We will use the nonverbal subtests as pre, post, and delayed-post-intervention assessments.
Independently developed transfer activities Two transfer activities have been designed to measure students' ability to transfer spatial skills and problem-solving techniques developed during the GIS training to solve problems with similar structure but housed in different contexts. The activities need to be solved without the aid of the QGIS software to ensure the activity's fairness to the control group.
Academic interest questionnaire The academic interest questionnaire aims to measure the level of classroom engagement and interest in academics and specific modes of learning (e.g., working in groups, direct instruction, activity-based learning) at the beginning and end of the intervention period. Of particular interest is student motivation to pursue related fields after the intervention.
Use of technology questionnaire The use of technology questionnaire aims to measure children's typical use of technology in the school and at home and to document any change in this use due to the GIS unit. Specific responses may also be used to track relationships between students' use of technology at home and performance on GIS activities.
Cognitive Interview This instrument is designed to measure students' ability to think collaboratively in the process of solving a spatial problem. Student responses will also be analyzed in regard to spatial reasoning, hypothetical reasoning, analogical reasoning, reasoned argumentation, and systems thinking.