A Progressive take on Finals

High School
Dear High School Families,
 
We are wrapping up our second trimester, and it is an ideal opportunity to reflect on all of the hard work and successes of the year so far, and to look forward to some much deserved time off during Spring Break. For now, our students are actively preparing for the Trimester Two Assessment period, coming next week. Over the course of three days, each class has a longer block of time to use for a Progressive take on “Finals.”
 
As a faculty we are always asking ourselves fundamental questions about assessment. How are we evaluating the learning of our students and the work they create, both formally and informally? Do we value what we assess, or assess what we value? How does our progressive pedagogy inform the ways in which we measure our students understanding of the world and themselves? This is why assessment can (and should) take so many different formats. There is a time for tests and quizzes, for analytical essays and creative writing pieces, for labs and experiments, for conversation and debate, for critique and reflection, for performances and productions, and for presentations both oral and visual.
 
In many year-long classes, this time is an opportunity to do an exciting activity or experiment that makes full use of the longer block of time, or to share presentations and projects. For trimester long classes, this is a time for a wide variety of culminating activities. These experiences range from mock Supreme Court debates, journalism articles, analytical essays, collections of short stories or memoir writing, Shakespearean sonnets, critiques of art, writing, and other works, to presentations of all kinds, the creation of original musical instruments, design challenges, and even a trip to the Museum of Natural History. I hope you will talk with your students about what the range of assessments look like for them, and how they can prepare to be at their best!
 
When we return in the Spring, a rich and full season at LREI, it is not a final push towards the Summer. The Spring is a time for putting together all that we have learned in the Fall and Winter, and like the natural world outside, blooming into an amazing array of experiences.
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