Grades + Narrative Assessment

A creative, respon­sive curricu­lum merits mean­ing­ful, authen­tic assess­ment. Waverly teach­ers use many tech­niques for measur­ing and sharing student progress. They check for under­stand­ing and growth on a daily basis through obser­va­tion and eval­u­a­tion of written and spoken expres­sion. Students may create projects, write papers, or present research either indi­vid­u­ally or as part of a small group. Teacher feed­back comes as detailed written sugges­tions on an assign­ment or as verbal responses in the context of a class discus­sion. Teach­ers guide self-reflec­tion and peer review, as well. While teach­ers may occa­sion­ally use quizzes or tests to eval­u­ate under­stand­ing, testing is not the ulti­mate measure of ability, knowl­edge, or performance.

Waverly believes that a focus on letter grades distracts students from the most impor­tant elements of their educa­tion. Here, the empha­sis is on indi­vid­ual acad­e­mic progress rather than grades. Teach­ers write narra­tive analy­ses of student work and cumu­la­tive progress reports twice a year. These semes­ter reports are designed to provide insight into the intel­lec­tual devel­op­ment of each student. 

For the purposes of college admis­sions, letter grades are recorded on a cumu­la­tive tran­script for high school students, but the school eschews conver­sa­tions based on letter grades. We encour­age students to focus on learn­ing for learning’s sake, to note where growth is needed, and to adopt specific strate­gies for improve­ment when neces­sary. Students in 9th and 10th grades receive their cumu­la­tive GPA at the end of each school year. Grades are made avail­able to students and parents/​guardians begin­ning in 11th grade. In 11th and 12th grades, students receive grades for each class to help them prepare for the college application process.