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Assessments & Communications

PS1 students strive to exceed standards—and expectations.

At PS1, our purpose is to help students develop with a sense of intrinsic motivation—to know that they are doing their best work because they are interested in learning... and what they are learning has meaning for them.

At every level, our teachers craft lessons to fulfill widely adopted standards, including the California Common Core Mathematics Standards, the Next Generation of Science Standards, and the Columbia Teachers College Reading Program. We want our students not only to meet these standards, but to exceed them. And the best way to do that is to use assessments that inspire curiosity, optimism, and ongoing improvement.

To that end, we use a variety of formative assessment methods, covering academic, social, and emotional progress, and always offer a path for revision and growth. For example, starting in 3rd grade, we provide numeric rubrics, sharing them with students at the outset of each lesson. As they work, students and teachers constantly check the rubrics together, so children know where they’re succeeding and where they need to do better. And even students receiving top numbers seek ways to push themselves further.

Growing up with these rigorous, comprehensive, and reflective assessment methods, PS1 students enter 7th grade holding unusually high expectations for themselves—and filled with confidence that they can tackle any challenge.

Information about student progress is provided to parents through a rubric and narrative report cards two times a year and parent-teacher conferences twice a year. Faculty engage in a year-long dialogue with parents, actively maintaining the necessary parent partnership to best support each student.


PS1 strives to give homework that is meaningful and developmentally appropriate. Teachers at all grade levels assign homework in literacy and math. Students typically have specialized subject-specific homework throughout the year. Students in Olders (5th/6th) typically have an hour of homework each night, involving activities to reinforce learning from the school day as well as ongoing projects that help students learn time-management skills in preparation for middle school.