Home Program Assessments
K-8 teachers measure and document student growth on an ongoing basis almost daily, across subject areas. Regular assessments and a standards based grading approach provide valuable insight to help students learn, grow, and take on up-leveled challenges. Parents review progress reports twice a year, and formal parent-teacher conferences occur twice a year and as needed. See samples below of progress reports and also samples of upper grade grading systems.
In Lower School, lessons are differentiated to help students grow and stay in their “stretch zone” as much as possible. We utilize small learning groups particularly around math and structured literacy. Skills in math, spelling, reading, and other foundational building blocks are assessed regularly, while keeping the focus centered on effort and comprehension. Each student’s personal development is paramount, and their ability to understand and take charge of their own learning is the desired outcome.
In Middle School, students and parents access an online grading system to see completed and missing work, and receive scores and feedback on homework, classwork, and tests. Weekly and monthly tests/quizzes and other assessments help measure student learning, and we use a formal math skills assessment twice a year. Throughout, students have the opportunity to correct mistakes, and seek support for what they don’t know. Consultancy is an important part of the Middle School program and helps students get help from teachers when they need support understanding a concept, studying for a test, or refining an essay.
As a progressive school, Park Day strives to create an environment where students can dream big, take risks, and innovate. Our teachers get to know each child individually and students are consistently encouraged to reflect on their work and growth, and advocate for themselves when needed in order to deepen their understanding.
In Middle School, students and parents access an online grading system to see completed and missing work and receive scores and feedback on homework, classwork, and tests. In addition, weekly and monthly tests or quizzes, homework turned in for feedback, and other assessments help measure student learning.
Students and families can see current and upcoming assignments for the day, week, or month, as well as see all past assignments.
View Progress and Scores
Students and families can track progress overall as well as see feedback and scores on individual assignments.
Educators send home comprehensive written narratives twice a year. These 12-16 page assessments include a string of standards based skills assessments in each academic area measuring multiple skills in each area. Ratings include: meets expectations; exceeds expectations; developing; area of concern. Teachers also write out narratives to add depth and analysis to student learning in different areas. If a student is struggling, teachers will reach out and communicate with a family in order to partner in support of a child’s learning in advance of any formal feedback.
Sample Kindergarten Progress report
Sample 6th Grade Progress report
Teacher/advisor conferences are held midway through the term, twice a year. In Middle School, students lead those conferences with support from their advisor. Student-selected portfolios are part of each conference, and teachers/students guide parents through student work, and each student’s growth edge and areas of success. Beginning in 3rd grade, students take part in helping lead these conferences. They share their own successes, alongside stretch and challenge areas while outlining personal goals.
There is a lot of research about how people learn, and schools all over the country are beginning to explore the approach progressive schools like Park Day have embraced for decades. Park Day School favors the sorts of evaluation supported by research and described in the landmark National Research Council report “How People Learn”. We use assessments that provide students with opportunities to revise and improve their thinking, and help teachers identify problems that need to be remedied.
This method of assessment is gaining in popularity as educational experts consider the skills students need to be successful in a rapidly changing world. Organizations like the Mastery Transcript Consortium (which includes schools like College Prep, the Nueva School, University High School, and many more) recognizes that “the traditional transcript reinforces outdated modes of education…it sorts and sifts students through narrow measures such as grades and GPAs, reducing each complex and unique individual to a simple number.” Their efforts represent a dramatic alternative to the status quo, supporting “each student in learning for today’s world, in exploring and pursuing varied pathways to futures that compel them, and in being recognized for acquiring and mastering skills both inside and outside of school,” similarly to how progressive schools have been assessing students for years.
KQED’s Mindshift: Assessments
How People Learn, National Research Council
NPR: What kind of parent are you?
Progressive Education: Why it’s hard to beat, but also hard to find
Loving Learning: How Progressive Education Can Save America’s Schools