Development of a Competence Model for Geographical Systems Competence

The national educational standards for the subject of geography for general school leaving qualifications describe the systems concept as a central basic concept. The project targets an empirical foundation of a normative-educational theoretical structure and level model for systems competence in teaching geography for a general school leaving qualification. Specially designed test tasks that are based on this model shall be deployed to enable criterion-oriented, school-related, individual diagnostics.


The project’s first main objective concerns the empirical foundation of a competence structure and level model of systems competence for geography instruction. As a second objective, the model-oriented development of test tasks shall enable a model-based, criterion-related diagnostics of geographical system competence in school-related contexts.

Research questions

  • Task testing: In how far are newly developed tasks for the assessment of geographical systems competence appropriate? (tested by expert judgements and Cognitive Labs)
  • Can the structures of the competences that  have been assessed by means of the newly developed tasks be aptly described by the dimensions and levels of the hypothesised model of geographical systems competence? (tested by multi-dimensional IRT scaling and prediction of item difficulties)
  • In how far are the assessed systems competences related to school grades (marks) and other student variables? (Analysis by latent regression models)


Model-based construction of standardised test tasks, evaluation on the basis of Item-Response-Theory models.

International aspects

Co-operation with University of Teacher Education Central Switzerland (PHZ)

Current milestones of the project

Development of test tasks and qualitative testing


German Research Foundation, Swiss National Fund


Prof. Dr. Rainer Uphues (contact person), Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen-Nuremberg, Geography Didactics Prof. Dr. Armin Rempfler, University of Teacher Education Central Switzerland (PHZ), Lucerne, Institute for Teaching and Learning

Project Management

Prof. Dr. Johannes Hartig

Project Details

Completed Projects
Department: Teacher and Teaching Quality
2011 – 2014
External funding
Contact: Prof. Dr. Johannes Hartig, Head of Unit