At Watershed School, we believe that assessment is a critical part of the learning process itself, rather than a way to judge success or failure. Its purposes are:

  • To help students evaluate their own progress so that they may celebrate their successes and identify the areas that still need work.
  • To help educators assess the progress and needs of individual students in order to tailor instruction and experiences to meet those needs.
  • To assist educators in evaluating the effectiveness of their curricula and teaching techniques.
  • To determine whether students have mastered specific skills and knowledge in order to gain certifications or to progress into Senior Institute and Graduation.
  • To document the learning that takes place at Watershed for prospective colleges, for students and parents considering Watershed in the future, and for other professionals in the field of education interested in improving the quality of education in their schools.

In the absence of letter grades, student performance and progress is evaluated on an ongoing basis through projects and presentations that demonstrate student learning: self-reflection and assessment; regular one-on-one meetings with advisors; feedback from community mentors; and the collection of work in student portfolios.

A portfolio is a collection of your “best” work over time. It is a way of documenting and demonstrating your learning and growth. Students in 8th, 10th and 12th grade present their portfolios to a panel as evidence of their readiness to move to more independent learning. Each term concludes with Presentations of Learning in which you present your learning to an audience of peers, educators, parents, and community experts. You are assessed on the content and delivery of the presentation by a panel of evaluators.