What WE say about … PBAs

By Monica Barker, Opinion Editor

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As the school year comes to an end, teens in high school always brace for final projects to be thrown at them. When West Essex replaced final exams with Project Based Assessments (PBAs) in 2016, it was a giant shift in the pacing of the last marking period. To this day, students fight over whether having final exams was better or working on final projects is preferred. We asked students at West Essex what they have to say about the PBAs for this year.

Do you think your PBA is related to what you learned in that class?

  • “My PBA is relatively related to what I learned in class however it’s usually on something we learned early in the year.” — junior Nick Wolfe
  • “I don’t think it is a good summary, more what we did at the end of the year.” — sophomore Hafsa Seddiki
  • “No, it’s not the main stuff we learn.” — freshman Alyssa Madalena
  • “No — we aren’t covering anything we learned.” — senior John Torrillo

Would you prefer partners picked by teachers or to work single?

  • “I would prefer if I were to work with a partner so I do not have all the workload on myself.” — junior Nick Wolfe
  • “Alone. I get it done faster and it eliminated an uncomfortable factor.” — sophomore Hafsa Seddiki
  • “I like to have someone there helping and to have another input.” — freshman Alyssa Madalena
  • “Depends on what we are working on but i would most likely always choose partners.” — senior John Torrillo

Over the years do you find PBAs to be getting harder or easier?

  • “I noticed that the PBAs are usually the same over and over again, especially with math.” — junior Nick Wolfe
  • “I think easier, probably because I am more comfortable and I know the process now.” — sophomore Hafsa Seddiki
  • “Definitely harder because there are more topics to talk about.” — freshman Alyssa Madalena
  • “As I have gotten further in high school, the PBAs have definitely gotten easier.” — senior John Torrillo

A final exam would only take one day, whereas a PBA can take over a month to complete. Do you think they’re worth the length?

  • “I think PBAs are worth the time over the test because the best is a lot more stress and you have to study.” –junior Nick Wolfe
  • “I think in some classes I would want to take an exam and get it over with, but for some classes I would do better on a project.” — sophomore Hafsa Seddiki
  • “I think tests are less stress because with PBA’s everything is due on the same day and teachers have a lot to grade.” — freshman Alyssa Madalena
  • “I don’t like the stress of a test, and in a project if you don’t do well on one part then you can earn points back in another.” — senior John Torrillo