Geoscience knowledge at the end of upper-secondary school in Italy



Understanding geoscience issues is required to face the changes affecting our planet. In many countries, students meet geoscience within the national curricula of natural sciences, but a standard geoscience curriculum does not exist, and most teachers lack a strong geological background - a common situation worldwide. In Italy, the hydrogeologic, seismic and volcanic risks affecting the territory require citizens to be aware of geological issues. In this context, monitoring basic geoscience skills at the end of schooling is necessary. As a step in this direction, a screening tool - IMES2 or ‘Individuation of Misconceptions in Earth Sciences 2’ - was designed and validated through psychometric analysis, for surveying geoscience knowledge at the end of upper-secondary school. It was applied to screen 403 students enrolled in the first year of different courses at the University of Pisa (Italy) in the academic year 2020-21. The results indicate the persistence, at the end of the upper secondary school, of several misconceptions already reported in the geoscience education literature, regarding endogenous and exogenous geological processes and the geological time.


Earth science curriculum, student learning, quality assessment, validity and reliability study, survey development

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