Student evaluation, both formative and summative, occurs daily at the Friends School and takes many forms including thoughtful observation and interaction with each student. Students in middle school are assessed as they complete projects or experiments, produce written texts or portfolios and complete quizzes and tests. They receive a combination of grades and rubric assessments. Students are sometimes asked to engage in self-assessment in which they evaluate their own performance with respect to specified criteria. During the year, student progress is shared with parents in several ways: September goal-setting conferences; student portfolios; marked assignments and projects; narrative, descriptive and quantitative evaluations that define how well a student has met curriculum expectations; and academic reports. Several middle school teachers, especially language arts teachers, maintain portfolios of student work. These portfolios remain in the classroom but can be accessed by parents at any time. Teachers are available to speak with parents in conference about student progress and to discuss work samples or portfolios. Parents should contact either the student’s advisor or subject-area teacher with whom they wish to consult.
In keeping with the Quaker value of equality, we do not promote that which would set students against each other. Instead, our evaluation methods reflect the achievements and areas of growth for each student as an individual. Evaluations are used to show how much a student has learned in relation to her or his own goals without comparison to others. Test-taking skills instruction is part of our middle school curriculum and we are often able to make available an SSAT preparation course outside of school.
Historically, our students have performed well on standardized tests and transitioned successfully into a variety of educational environments. Alumni are now excelling at public high schools in the Atlanta area, as well as at highly competitive independent schools. In 2002, some of our first graduates began college at Yale, Haverford and other highly selective colleges. Since then, FSA students have been accepted into a wide variety of colleges and universities.