Using a project-based assessment as a final exam for a course or courses has advantages and disadvantages. An advantage: students truly have an opportunity to demonstrate what they know and are able to do. A disadvantage: if there are problems, there is no flexibility. The course is over and you really can’t give the students any more time to finish the project. This year, the “final exam” for the 2013 Plymouth Regional High School Environmental Science and Oceanography classes consisted of preparing a storymap (http://storymaps.esri.com) summarizing the field studies conducted on May 23, 2013 at Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, NH. During this field trip, students collected physical (water chemistry, flow rate, etc) and biological data both at the river that flows through the salt marsh and on the rocky shore. They also worked with Tracy Degnan from the Rockingham County Conservation District and Kevin Lucey, Restoration Coordinator for the NH Coastal Program/NH Department of Environmental Services to plant native species in an area that had recently been cleared of invasive species. This area was adjacent to the bayberry-beach plum maritime shrubland habitat, which is a threatened exemplary natural community within the park.
Following the trip, seniors had only three classes to cleanup all the equipment, make plankton observations, and complete these projects. Underclassmen had two additional classes. To add to the challenges, during this time the school was experiencing some technological issues which made working on the project more difficult. Although these projects are not perfect, and most students did not have time to complete a final editing, I still thought that overall the projects reflect positively on the talents and skills of these students and wanted to share them.
Follow the links below to explore each student's work.
Environmental Science Students: