Grades at OWL are based on standards and are not competitive or based on a “curve.” Learning targets (goals for skills, knowledge, and reasoning) guide classroom instruction and assessment. Throughout each course, teachers assess how far students progress towards achieving each learning target, informally and formally, through class discussions, written assignments, projects, tests, and other means. At the end of a unit of study, or expedition, the teacher translates progress towards learning targets (Novice, Developing, Proficient, or Exemplary) into a letter grade using the following table:
Goal-setting and Student-led Conferences
One unique aspect of conferences at OWL-- which we feel it is vitally important -- is that crew leaders hold planning conferences with each student and family. We feel that planning for a year of challenge and success needs to take place at the beginning of the year. Makes sense, doesn't it?
End-of-semester conferences in February and June are led by students, who exhibit their portfolio of work to their parents and Crew leader. In all conferences, students take a leading role, showing ownership of their accomplishments and remaining challenges. Students work in their crews to prepare for each conference session, gathering samples of high quality work from each course and rehearsing for their leadership roles.
Click here to see a sample video of an OWL student-led conference.
The formal graduation portfolio is an essential component of the OWL Community experience. Every graduate creates a bound document showcasing in-depth reflections and exemplary work in six areas: Coherent Communication, Science and Technology, Mathematics, Social Studies, Personal Development, and Service. The portfolio also includes a high school summary reflection and a post-high-school plan, as well as three or more letters of recommendation. Seniors present their portfolios to a committee of their peers, teachers, family and friends of their choosing.