Ylioppilaskokeet ja maantieteen merkityksellinen tieto
This article introduces the main ideas of ‘powerful knowledge’, which have recently been applied to geography education, for example, by Lambert (2011), Maude (2015), and Béneker and Palings (2017). Lambert et al. (2015) have described three levels of geographical knowledge that would enhance young people’s access to powerful geographical knowledge. The first level consists of deep and descriptive world knowledge, the second of relational understanding and geographical thinking, while the third level consists of the propensity to think through alternative social, economic, and environmental futures in specific locations and the ability to think critically. These three levels of knowledge are applied in the analysis of powerful geographical knowledge in the context of Finnish matriculation examinations. The empirical data set consists of 28 geography exams from 2006 to 2019, including 273 questions in total, 63 of which have been published in the form of the digital exams offered since the autumn of 2016. Digital exams have increased the amount of background material included in the questions, but they have also lead to the disappearance of tasks in which students should draw maps. The analysis shows how all three levels of powerful geographical knowledge are present in the matriculation questions. The number of simple first-level questions has been reduced, and the number of questions requesting relational understanding and geographical thinking has increased. However, value-based issues as well as questions requiring the student’s personal reasoning and ability to evaluate certain controversial themes are non-existent in the exams, even though they are described in the framework curriculum.