2000 South Korea
Seoul by night
"The Seoul Competition was a great success and opened new possibilities for the internationalization of the program."
The core of the competition lies with the test, and there was a great endeavor allocated to the law development of questions. Following the Statutes of the Competition the level of test was set around on the curriculum of secondary school. The Seoul competition took the same format as the two previous competitions: a written test, a fieldwork assignment, and a quiz, although contents were different to some degree. Committees made questions, corrected, and graded.
The large number of participating countries required various considerations in developing questions. The most complicated and challenging task was to develope questions that will do justice to different geography curricula in the participating countries. Test committees selected two introductory levels of geography books and Geography of Korea as the texts for the competition and informed the participating countries of these decisions. Another problem was to decide to what extent the Congress Theme would be reflected on the questions. The first and second competitions gave a lot of emphasis on Congress Themes. Three committees in charge of developing questions discussed what should be the general direction of the questions at length and decided to test participants general knowledge of geography. The decision was made considering the increased number of participating countries. The committees also decided that English and French will be the official languages of the competition, the same with IGC and prepared all the competition-related materials in the two languages. However, to minimize language problems and to evaluate the abilities applying geographic techniques, many maps and pictures were included in the problem set.
Language dictionaries were permitted in class. Leaders were allowed to stay in class, at the rear part of the classroom, during the exam hours for a moment. At fieldwork each leader was assigned to a team of the other country and accompanied those students for whole day. So leaders or observers were physically separated from their students during the test hours.
Committee members, some leaders, and several American and Australian geographers of the CGE participated in grading. Basically each answer sheet was reviewed by three persons and were scored as the average of the grades given by three persons. In order to insure fairness, leaders did not grade the papers of the students in their own country.
The ratio of each field in geography, physical, human and technical aspects, was 37, 58 and 4, respectively. Maps, figures or diagrams were provided with most questions in order to help understanding text of each question.
The written test covered a broad spectrum of geography. It consisted of 18 questions in 8 fields: the extension of Trans-Siberian railroad, population pyramids, changes in manufacturing employment, the location of nuclear power plants, urban climate, images of the world, formation of mushroom rock and a climate graph. The ratio of physical geography to human geography was 37 to 63. Two hours were allocated for the written test from 10:00 to 12:00 on August 15. The written test comprised 50% of the total score.
Questions for the fieldwork assignment were divided into two parts: Kwanghwamun and Samsung-dong part was on the human aspects of geography and the Amsa-dong part was on the physical aspects. All three sites selected are within the Seoul City limits. Kwanghwamun is an old downtown area of Seoul, which has very old streets in its vicinity while Samsung-dong is a newly developed sub-center. In contrast, Amsa-dong is the natural levee of the Han River and the site of a prehistoric settlement.
One day, August 16, was allocated for a fieldwork excursion. Each team consisted of three students from the same country, one leader from a different country, and one Korean student whose responsibility was to show the way to an assigned fieldwork site and answer non-geographical questions. At each site there were college professors who guided teams along the planned routes. The weather forecast called for rain in the afternoon of the excursion day but it was only cloudy throughout the day. Two large buses were rented for the transportation of the teams.
There were a total of 11 questions: 7 about Kwanghwamun and Samsung-dong and 4 about Amsa-dong, thus the ratio of physical to human aspects of questions was 40 to 60. Thirty percents of total scores were allocated to the fieldwork assignment.
Quiz was the third part of the test. The quiz consisted of 40 questions. This made up 20% of the total test score. The ratio of physical, human and technical aspects of geography was 37%, 45%, and 18%, respectively. Of the three types of test, a quiz contest covered a wide scope of geographical knowledge. Most questions had maps, diagram, or figures. Students were asked to choose appropriate answers or write down appropriate words or short phrases. Answering time limit was 90 seconds per question.
Maps or diagrams were used because they had been basic techniques in geography. An experienced quiz master, Professor Young-in Moon, University of Seoul, read or explained the text in English and the text and the maps, diagrams or figures were projected on separate screens by beam projectors.
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