Our philosophy and small class sizes allow us to assess students in a complete way.

We assess them every day as they work on projects, challenges, and activities.

Instead of letter grades, written reports are given to parents twice a year at fall and spring parent-teacher conferences and a comprehensive written report is given to parents at the end of the year. The yearly report consists of an overview of the class activities and specific sections on your child’s development, both academic and social, conveying a more complete view of how a child is doing.

Related Article: Grades Do More Harm Than Good - Huffington Post

A parent may request a conference at any time convenient to both teacher and parents. A portfolio of your child’s work is available for you to enjoy at any time. Classroom meetings for parents are planned annually for the purpose of group discussion of child development, school philosophy, and NCCL curriculum.

Since 1971, NCCL School has assessed children in this way, which not only helps parents get a clearer picture of their child, but also helps students identify their own strengths and struggles — leading them to better long-term academic success.

Related Article: 7 Things Every Kid Should Know – Boston Globe


by Marilynn Magnani, former Educational Director and Group 3 teacher:

“At NCCL assessment is seen as a valuable means of knowing how best to help students progress academically. For this reason, we carefully observe the children as they work and mindfully listen as they speak. We consider not only the final product of their work but the means by which it was accomplished. This informal evaluation is done continually as the students go about their daily activities.

Assessing a student’s understanding is very complex. There is no way to simplify it to one letter or numerical grade despite what many would have us believe. In fact, such systems often result in the grade replacing learning as the goal. It can become a symbol for what a student is or is not.

Instead, here at NCCL, we talk much about how the students approach their school work: Are they curious? Persistent? Attentive? Organized? Reliable? Independent? Where do new understandings come easily? Where are there struggles? Is a student progressing in relationship to others her age and most importantly in relationship to herself?

This type of evaluation allows us to see each student as an intriguing, multi-faceted human being. It helps us to stay with a child as he struggles to gain understanding and to continually set new challenges as he progresses. This approach supports our philosophy that learning is an on-going endeavor rather than one prescribed and evaluated at any one point in time.

We meet frequently with the students to discuss how they are doing and over the years help them learn to self-evaluate. We assist them in setting both short and long-term goals. Twice a year we meet formally with parents and end the year with a written progress report.”