INSTRUCTION & ASSESSMENT
Upper School Overview
The Upper School at The Quad Preparatory School corresponds to traditional grades 6-12. Prime entry points are at grades 6 and 9. Programming flexibly meets a continuum of needs that reflect substantial growth of social, cognitive, and self-regulatory skills in our lower school students moving up, as well as the needs of children entering The Quad Preparatory School for the first time. One-to-one instruction in the core academic areas is maintained throughout the upper school years. This allows for a true personalized learning plan that accelerates, modifies, or adjusts the pace of the curriculum to meet the specific needs of the student by filling in learning gaps or pursuing special interests while raising the achievement bar. As children progress through their upper school years, group learning experiences increase, providing forums for discourse and collaboration as well as to prepare students for the transition to post-secondary education.
Academic instruction at the Quad Prep embodies a variety of strategies. First and foremost, our students’ strengths and interests are identified and developed early, thus we focus and build on what children can do instead of getting caught up in what they cannot do. We know that when students are engaged by working in areas of talent and/or interest, they are more apt to address their challenges.
One-to-one instruction allows our teachers to accelerate, modify, pursue special interests, or adjust pacing to specific needs to ﬁll in learning gaps while raising the achievement bar. Students are prepared for academic discourse by meeting in seminar groups of varying sizes to discuss any and all areas, from math problems to philosophical and ethical issues. They also collaborate in project-based learning, grouped by similar interests and employ problem solving strategies and presentation skills. We monitor new learning in many different ways: projects, art work, dramatic presentations, debates, written pieces, and formal presentations, as well as quizzes and tests. Students gain experience in many modes of demonstrating what they know, while being scaffolded for success in their choice of product.
Student Baseline Assessments
At the start of each school year students are assessed for literacy and math skills using NWEA MAP Growth Assessment which is an adaptive diagnostic assessment. This allows us to see what students know and what they are ready to learn next. Diagnostics assessments, along with psychosocial and neurological documentation, will be reviewed to provide appropriate instruction, pacing, content for our students and drive initial expectations. In late spring, students will be assessed again using the Map Growth Assessment which will allow us to see their growth throughout the school year.
Teachers prepare reports twice yearly, rating skill sets covered during the semester based on a variety of standards. The report also includes a narrative of the curriculum in each content area as well as a narrative of the child’s progress in that subject area. Psychologists and other clinicians (speech pathologists, occupational therapists, learning specialists) also write narratives describing a child’s progress and what they are working on.
Beginning at grade 9, students are assessed in their classwork using percentage ratings. In grades 7 & 8, individual assignments are evaluated with rubrics that result in percentage grades on individual assignments to transition them to the quantitative evaluations in grades 9-12. This approach has helped perfectionistic and highly self-critical students better understand and accept a system of evaluation using it to support and inform improvement. Continual executive functioning coaching also helps twice-exceptional students to acquire skills and become independent in the tools that help them to fulfill their potential.
High School students also participate in PSAT, SAT, ACT, and AP exams.
STUDENT GROUPINGS & PROMOTION
The Quad Preparatory School does not follow a traditional grade-level school structure. Rather than “grade levels”, our students are grouped in multi-aged “preps” of ten children within a 2-3 year chronological age range. Groupings are created with the consideration of similar social and cognitive levels of development. End-of-year movement is based on re-evaluation, assessments and most suitable instructional levels for the next year. Mid year movement from one prep to another may also occur as a child develops during a school year.
It should be noted that a common characteristic of The Quad Preparatory School students is asynchronous development. Students will be provided with appropriate instructional levels for each academic subject based on assessments in each area, rather than on the traditional “grade level” followed in traditional schools.
The first year of the Upper School, typical grade 6, lays foundations for the following years in that students focus on academics that will prepare them for the intellectual demands of in depth courses. Focus lies in developing independence and executive functioning skills. Group discussions, team collaborations, and evaluation become major goals at this level. Movement to the high school level classes comes as soon as teachers feel a student is ready to find success in these classes. Pacing is adapted by the teachers to accommodate students.