Program Assessment

Productivity of The St. Catherines Sea Turtle Conservation Program is measured against specific program objectives. In the context of educational goals and objectives we evaluate the internship class by administering an anonymous questionnaire during the seventh or eighth day of the internship. The instrument also solicits open-ended critique of any question. This is followed by a second open-ended solicitation for critique at the October follow-up meeting, after several months of reflection by the interns.

Productivity and outcomes of the St. Catherines Sea Turtle Program are documented annually.

Quantitative data indicate that this course is meeting its goals and objectives based on the overall score of 4.93 out of 5.0 awarded by 1994 participants in response to the question “Considering all of the above [52] qualities which are applicable, how would you rate this course?” and an average of all scores of 4.63 out of 5.0 in rating 53 attributes of the instructors and the course.

Affective and cognitive pre- and post-tests are administered annually to document the learning and changes in attitude. Open-ended components are administered immediate upon finishing the island residency and after about a two month reflective interval.

A measure of the effectiveness of the program is also assessed each year in our annual report which qualitatively summarizes field activity and scores each objective as being “met(m), partly met(p), or unmet(u).”

Project Objectives:

Evaluative Criterion 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
 Georgia Department of Natural Resources Monitoring Objectives [Mandated]
1. Monitor beaches on a daily basis to locate new nests; validate by digging; document. m m m  m m
2. Cover and mark all nests within twelve hours of their deposition. m m m  m m
3. Assess potential success of each nest site and relocate low probability nests. m m m  m m
4. Survey the position of each nest with GPS. m m m  m m
5. Monitor, document, and control daily events and predation of all sea turtle nests. m m m  m m
6. Assess hatchling success for each nest by post-emergence digging. m m m  m m
7. Patrol daily for beached sea turtles or marine mammals; and document them. m m m  m m
8. Develop a management plan for nests deposited on St. Catherines’ beaches. m m m m
 Georgia Southern Sea Turtle Program Research Objectives
9. Select nests for daily monitoring and observation to develop nest histories. m m m  m m
10. Develop research projects supporting sea turtle conservation and paleontology. m m m  m m
11. Document stratigraphic and sedimentological parameters of sea turtle nests. m m m  m m
12. Develop strong and robust undergraduate and graduate research and educational outreach programs. m m m m
 Educational Objectives Link to Georgia Standards & Learning Framework
13. Provide a holistic, interdisciplinary, hands-on, networked field experience in which pre-service and in-service teachers can actively participate to enhance their scientific literacy while serving a real societal need and building a learning community. m m m m m
14. Model a scientific method of inquiry and replicate the processes of contingency in science through note taking, critical thinking, scientific writing using real-world applications of threatened and endangered species. m m m  m m
15. Model the Learning Cycle and networking within a Learning Community m m m  m m
16. Provide content and supporting materials enabling teachers to transmit information and motivate school children in science, mathematics, and other cognate areas m m m  m m
17. Develop a strategy for delivery of content-rich, field-based science education via electronic technologies. m m m  m m
18. Evaluate the facilitation of scientific, mathematical, and cognate content in classroom curricula. u u u  u m
19. Integrate experiential learning, book learning, and content provided by scientists, educators, and veterinarians into a comprehensive knowledge base for teaching. p p p p m

Open-ended comments from course evaluations indicate the educational goals and objectives of the projects are being met; interns are leaving their internship feeling that they participated and learned in a real-world, hands-on conservation effort:

“This course was very educational. I learned more from this course than any other science class I have taken. The experience is one that I will always remember. I plan to use this experience in the future when I begin to teach. All science education majors should take this course! I highly recommend this class. It is a lot of hard and exhausting work, but the outcome is awesome. I feel real lucky that I was chosen to participate in the Sea Turtle Conservation Program!”

“I thought this program was an excellent, real world, hands-on experience. The information that I have gained and the resources I have gathered will be extremely beneficial to me as a teacher. I could not have attained as much information about the topic had I sat behind the desk in a classroom for an entire quarter. The course has been wonderful! This course will enhance my credibility with my students and future colleagues. I have also obtained several valuable resources to use in the future. Excellent course – every science major should consider taking [it]!!”

“Nancy and Gale both encourage student opinions and express enthusiasm that is contagious – by asking “what do you think?” instead of immediately offering their opinions, they allow students to gain confidence and think analytically. I feel honored to have spent time …. this summer working with this program”

“A course like this which involves real-life science field work should be required for all science ed. and possibly all ed. majors. How can a teacher teach science if she/[he] doesn’t know/have experience in what scientists do? This is far more valuable than any science class in a four-walled room that I’ve taken.”

Last updated: 11/30/2015

Sea Turtle Program at St. Catherines Island • (912) 478-1744 •