Level 3

Geography clarifications

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91431: Analyse aspects of a contemporary geographic issue

Updated September 2015. This document has been updated in its entirety to address new issues that have arisen from moderation.

The nature of the issue

The contemporary geographic issue must be currently unresolved and have a spatial dimension. With selection of topics that are global in nature, it is advisable to specify the parameters of the issue and define the spatial dimension. These limits will encourage a more in-depth analysis of the issue.

For example, global warming could be more effectively analysed if the focus is on the issue of sea level rising for selected Pacific Islands.

How people’s values and perceptions of the issue have led to their responses

Two or three people or different groups would provide sufficient evidence for this aspect.

The focus of this aspect is on the response made by people to the geographic issue. Students deal with this aspect best when a more active rather than passive response has been made by the person/group. The analysis requires students to clearly explain how the response is a consequence of the people’s values and perceptions of the issue. 

For clarification regarding the concepts of values, perceptions and perspectives refer to the Teaching and Learning Guides, these can be accessed through the NZQA Geography subject page.

Propose and justify a suitable course of action

To justify the proposed solution students must consider alternatives. A justification should examine short and long term implications of the solution and alternatives, to show why the proposed course of action is considered best. When justifying the proposal a range of environmental, economic, social, political impacts could be considered. Students may consider a compromise or a multifaceted approach to be implemented over the long term.

A full justification of the solution will show comprehensive understanding of the issue and possible alternatives in a response that uses clarity of argument and detailed evidence.

Geographic terminology and concepts

When analysing aspects of a geographic issue, students need to use geographic terminology, and show application and integration of concepts throughout their response. 

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