Factors affecting achievement in Advanced Level geography in Jamaica and England

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This study sought to identify the factors associated with achievement in A'Level geography in Jamaica, and to compare them with factors affecting achievement in England. Data were collected from a sample of 155 Jamaican students from 21 schools, and 470 English students from 29 schools. Further information was obtained from a survey of A'Level geography teachers in both countries. Results of the data analysis revealed that: 1) the most important factor associated with achievement in Jamaica was school influence, with the qualifications, experience, and teaching style of staff being important, together with the amount of fieldwork undertaken. Problems associated with poor facilities, entry standards, and the availability of books were identified; 2) study orientation was another major factor for Jamaica. Motivation was found to be particularly important, especially for the independent research paper; 3) cognitive measures, including verbal and spatial ability were not associated with achievement in Jamaica; 4) family background was also not associated with achievement in Jamaica, although the educational environment of the home was associated with study habits; 5) Jamaican students were disadvantaged in terms of school influence, and cognitive and family background. Conversely, they had higher mean scores on all the study orientation variables; and 6) for England, the main factor associated with A'Level attainment was study orientation. Cognitive ability was also involved, and empirical evidence was produced to support an hypothesized relationship between spatial ability and practical geography


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