We use a portfolio assessment system, rather than a graded report card, to monitor the academic progress of our students. The portfolio is a collection of a student’s highest quality work and it is used to measure the extent to which a student has met or exceeded the Idaho State Achievement Standards.
The passage system raises the academic standards for students. It is tied directly to our portfolio assessment system. The term “passage” refers to the passing of students from grade to grade. At PCCS, we believe that students should pass on to the next level only when they are ready. Readiness will be determined by the quality of work in a student’s portfolio.
As stated above, our portfolio system is aligned with Idaho State Achievement Standards. A complete portfolio with high quality work is evidence that a student has met or exceeded the Idaho State Achievement Standards in the five core areas, and that he/she has also met the PCCS portfolio requirements such as the personal statement, character letters, service projects and reflections on the ten design principles. Sample portfolios for each level are available in the Dean’s office. Parents/guardians are welcome to look through them to build a better understanding of our portfolio assessment system.
Passages presentations are at the end of the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th grades. Students present their portfolios to a panel of adults. The three-member panel typically includes a PCCS crew leader, a PCCS parent, and a community member. Each completed portfolio represents two years of hard work. It is a showcase of a student’s highest quality work produced during that time. The presentation is an important event but it is not the determining factor; the quality of work in the portfolio is what determines whether that student moves on to the next level.
Students who are not ready will not go through passages that year; they will stay in the same multi-age grouping for another year. This gives them a longer period of time to complete the requirements necessary to move to the next level. An incomplete portfolio or a portfolio with work that does not meet or exceed the state standards will be an indication that a student is not ready to move on. That decision will be made by the teacher and Dean, with input from parent(s)/guardian(s). Some accommodations will be made for students with IEPs, 504 plans, and other special needs. Our special education teachers will be part of that decision making process. Don’t worry! There will be no surprises. Parents will be kept up to date on a child’s performance throughout the year. You will know long before the end of the year of any concerns regarding your child’s academic progress.
The portfolio passage system involves a great deal of student reflection. Our students are accustomed to classroom discussions on the issue of quality. PCCS teachers and students work together to choose pieces of the highest quality to go into the portfolio. More importantly than showing this collection of work to an outside audience, each of our students is able to see the physical evidence of personal growth and progress. At the end of a passage year, students will take their portfolios home. We feel sure that they will be proud to show them to friends and family members for many years to come.