Narrative Evaluations are Out!

At the end of the school day today, Kyle handed out his narrative evaluations of each student’s first quarter at LiHigh School. He spent several minutes with them, making sure that they understood and were comfortable with what he wrote about their work these past few months.

What are Narrative Evaluations?
At LiHigh School, we don’t think it’s useful to reduce a child’s studies down to a single letter-grade or numerical grade point. As Stanford Law School argued when it moved away from traditional grades in 2008, “Grades squelch intellectual curiosity.” Grades direct students towards an end goal that has no real bearing on who they are or what they can do. Education becomes chasing the grade, rather than chasing the learning.

Instead of assigning grades, we evaluate our students’ work in real terms: a multipage letter, written by the advisor, directly to the parents and the student.

We evaluate the student in each of the five Learning Goals, and categorize their work into four broad categories: Needs Work, Adequate, Strong, and Very Strong.

The advisor supports this categorization with several paragraphs to help explain where each student is at with the particular Learning Goal and what we can do in the next quarter to help them improve.

The Beginning of a Conversation
Unlike grades, narrative evaluations are not an end-point to learning.

They are the beginning of a conversation between the parents, the student, and the student’s advisor. They are a way to ensure that everyone who has an interest in the student’s education knows how best to proceed.

With the delivery of the narrative evaluations, today marks a big milestone in LiHigh School’s first year! Thank you to everyone who has lent us your support.

Author: Kyle Callahan

Hi, I'm Kyle. I'm an advisor at LiHigh School. I've been involved in progressive education since I was in high school. I was an original member (and student representative) of the Progressive Program at Green Mountain College, and for my Master's degree, I attended Goddard College, which started the trend toward progressive education in the 1960s. Along with teaching at LiHigh School, I teach courses in creative writing and communications at Green Mountain College. I live with my wife and daughter in Poultney.

One Comment

  1. As the Grandmother of one of your students, I have to say, this seems like the most awesome program for my Grandson. He seems so inspired by this program and loves the interaction with everyone involved. The classroom is perfect for him. Keep up the good work. I look forward to future postings on FB.