Weekly assessment in the form of effort grades provides our students valuable feedback about their participation, promptness, level of preparedness, and behavior in class. Effort grades are not linked to academic achievement; instead, they are regular reminders to students about the significance of "school skills." The frequency with which students receive effort grades emphasizes the importance of building effective academic habits.
NCS teachers foster a spirit of cooperative learning and an appreciation for various, individual learning styles. Narrative evaluations assess the development of critical learning skills, including gauging the time it takes to complete a given assignment, working independently, and incorporating creativity into the completion of an assignment. At NCS, students work toward achieving a “personal best” in a given class. Teachers do not assign numeric or letter marking period grades. Instead, our teachers focus on skill development, knowledge acquisition, and overall progress in all areas of our program.
Our students’ progress and achievement is detailed in assessment reports that we send home each term. Part checklist, part narrative, these reports detail students’ strengths and areas in need of continued improvement. While we do not offer summative grades for students in Levels I - IV (4th-8th grade), teachers in Level V (9th grade) report term averages, which allows NCS to assign high school credit. Interim and trimester reports include effort grades. Students’ advisors review trimester and interim reports with families.