Level 3 Rotorua trip and setting criteria

In 2017, the Level 3 Geography class took a field trip to Rotorua for 3 days. This trip was to support students with an external and students were required to conduct geographical research as part of an internal. The trip overall supported students towards gaining 9 credits in geography. While this trip was beneficial to students beyond assessment (see previous blog posts) However, reflecting on results from previous years I decided to try putting some criteria around attendance for the trip. This is largely because only 4 students attempted both the internal and external. Furthermore, a number of student rarely attended class throughout the year and then disappear after the trip to Rotorua. It is important to reflect on this because currently the Board of Trustees and the Geography department pay a significant amount of money for student to attend this trip.

This criteria was set with students in the first week of school for 2018. This way expectations with students were clear and hopefully I would get more Level 3 students attending class and submitting internals (this was a big issue in 2017).

As a class, we decided that prior to attending the trip students needed to have 80% attendance (although 90% is recommended by NCEA – this was a more realistic goal for the majority of students). Students would also need to complete ALL internals leading up to the trip.

This approach seemed successful in the first month or so of class with the majority of students making an effort with attendance. However, when the first assessment deadline came up only 9 (out of 23 students handed this in). This unfortunately meant attendance and work completion dropped off for a number of students. A similar number of students handed in the second assessment. While this work completion doesn’t seem great it was a significant improvement from the Level 3 class in 2017. Additionally, students were making an effort with attendance. At this point I discussed the results with my HOD who suggested revisiting the criteria. This seemed like a good idea in the hopes to motivate some students to complete their third assessment. If students completed 2 assessments and had 80% attendance they could come on the trip.

Some key reflections on setting this criteria and the adjustments made latter in the year:

  1. it helped motivate students to attend class and summit work
  2. However, it meant if students didn’t hand in the first assessment they almost gave up as they knew they were missing out on the trip – it would be good to consider a way to address this in 2019.
  3. I needed to follow through on the conditions I made with students regarding the second assessment as only one of the four students I extended this to actually handed in their assessment but came on the trip anyway (as arrangements were made too close to the deadline).

Overall, it was worth having criteria and putting restrictions in place as it meant students took their geography work and class attendance a bit more seriously since they wanted to attend the trip. It also meant we ended up with a nice crew of geographers on the trip. However, this criteria needs some adjusting for 2019 – perhaps it doesn’t need to be so credit focused potentially attendance is enough? In saying that, attendance in general has seemed to drop off since the trip in term 2 and only 1/3 the students that attended the trip have submitted their research assessments (similar to 2017).

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