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Structure of The Humanities - Geography Domain

The Geography domain is organised into three sections, one for each level of achievement from Levels 4 to 6. Each level includes a learning focus statement and a set of standards organised by dimension. A glossary is included which provides definitions of underlined terms.

Learning focus

Learning focus statements are written for each of Levels 4, 5 and 6. At Levels 1 to 3, basic concepts related to history, geography and economics are included under the general umbrella of ‘The Humanities’. Learning focus statements outline the learning that students need to focus on if they are to progress in the domain and achieve the standards at the levels where they apply. They suggest appropriate learning experiences from which teachers can draw to develop relevant teaching and learning activities.


Standards define what students should know and be able to do at different levels and are written for each dimension. In the Humanities, standards for assessing and reporting on student achievement are introduced at Level 3. These focus on historical and geographical knowledge and understanding. Specific standards for Geography apply from Level 4.


Standards in the Geography domain are organised in two dimensions:

Geographical knowledge and understanding

The Geographical knowledge and understanding dimension covers the patterns and interactions of physical and human phenomena on the surface of the Earth and the processes that created them. It focuses on spatial concepts: location, distance, distribution, location, movement, region, scale, spatial change over time, spatial association, spatial interaction and scale. These concepts underpin the kinds of questions geographers ask and help students to organise the vast amount of information and ideas that geography uses to understand the regularities, intricacies and uncertainties of occurrences on the Earth’s surface.

Students learn to ask a series of geographical questions and follow an inquiry-based approach incorporating identification, observation, description, analysis, explanation, synthesis and evaluation. This extends their understanding and provides students with a well-researched, informed spatial perspective to apply to local and global issues, including sustainable use and management of the world’s resources.

Geospatial skills

In the Geospatial skills dimension students read and interpret maps of different kinds and at different scales, including street directories, atlas maps, ordnance survey maps and topographic maps. Students identify and collect information from maps, plans, photographs, satellite images, statistical data, and information and communications technology based resources; and record and represent data in different types of maps, graphs, tables, sketches, diagrams and photographs. Students develop skills in gathering information first-hand from fieldwork studies. They make observations, take field measurements, conduct surveys and interviews, map and record phenomena in a range of settings.

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