Portfolios and Conferences

AssessmentSussex students do not receive traditional letter grades. Instead, we seek to instill intrinsic motivation and a love of learning in our students by supplying a varied, authentic, project-based curriculum that answers the unique needs of each child and encourages students to take responsibility for their own education.

Teachers monitor student development in the classroom and maintain consistent communication with each student regarding his or her work. Parents can request an informal conference at any time to discuss student progress. Much of the evaluation of individual students, however, occurs in the form of student portfolios, which are kept from Kindergarten through the 8th grade and discussed at individualized conferences each November and April.

Students choose representative examples of their work for their portfolios, and these examples collectively tell the story of their development over time. Each student presents his or her portfolios for parent(s) and teachers at the biannual formal conferences. The November portfolio conference focuses on goal-setting for the year, and the April conference focuses on the student’s progress toward those goals as well as on goals for the next year. Since a student’s portfolio is maintained over the course of multiple years at Sussex, it offers an irreplaceable record of student growth and of the scope and vitality of our curriculum.


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"Beyond snowball fights with teachers, protracted Math Counts review sessions at Bente’s house, and nights spent counting shooting stars in Utah’s endless deserts, a testimonial of Sussex must describe the collective curiosity instilled in each student. Indeed, by building a collective curiosity, Sussex students grow beyond their own egos, root their trust in the community as a whole, and foster relationships to not only explore and understand the world as an individual, but as a collective."

– Cascade Tuholske ’02