Assessment and reporting
Monitoring and reporting student progress
The progress of lower school students is monitored constantly throughout the year. Teachers assess student progress regularly using a variety of methods, including observations, interviews, portfolios, discussions and specific tasks. In addition to these ongoing assessments, teachers in K2–Grade 4 give benchmark assessments in September, January and May.
In October, when parents meet with the class teacher, a range of assessments conducted during the first 4-6 weeks of school is shared and explained. The teacher and parent work collaboratively to set goals for the next period of the year. Each grade has agreed to a series of classroom-based assessments and observations that form the basis for teachers' decisions regarding instruction and ongoing goals.
Parent conferences/report cards
Parent conferences are scheduled for all parents in late October and again in January. During these conferences, social-emotional development is discussed, as well as the child's academic progress. In the spring, student-led portfolio conferences are held. In addition, report cards are written in January and June. These report on both the student’s social-emotional and academic progress over the course of each semester. January report cards are followed up with a conference, and June report cards are accompanied by narrative comments by both classroom teachers and specialists. Parents who would like to discuss their children's academic or social progress with any of their teachers are welcome to do so by making an appointment. When a specific need arises, teachers may request conferences with parents at other times during the school year.
Student-led portfolio conferences
Lower school students, beginning in Kindergarten 1, keep portfolios of their work. From time to time, teachers help children select pieces to keep in their portfolios, which reflect significant learning moments, challenges, areas in which to improve, or learning of which they are proud. Usually a small reflection is written or dictated by the student, indicating the reason for a selection. During student-led portfolio conferences, children share their reflections of their progress over the course of the year. Students take a leadership role in this conference, which encourages increased responsibility for their own learning.
In the first semester, Grade 4 students take the MAP (Measurement of Academic Progress) in reading and math. Once results are returned, parents are welcome to meet with the teacher or assistant director of teaching and learning if they have any questions.
Every spring, the Lower School also administers the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) Writing Assessment and Achievement (WrAP) tests to students in Grades 3 and 4. Parents receive a summary of the test results and teachers review the results with the lower school principal and assistant director of teaching and learning.