Non-Graded System

Instruction at CCS is Non-graded in that our students do not receive traditional letter grades throughout their tenure.  Our students are assessed in a variety of ways so that we know their current skills and knowledge and what is needed for next steps. The school has adopted competency-based assessment tools where students proficiency is evaluated in relation to specific academic and non-academic learning targets. Our students learn a sense of inner drive and self-evaluation through out their time at CCS. The practice of giving students grades can disarm the development of the learning process. The teacher’s role is to help students learn how to know when things are completed, how to judge the quality of their work, and to validate when student self-assessment is accurate.

At CCS we give feedback and use a number of evaluation methods to help students and parents understand how they are doing in school. Individualized Learning Plans, parent/student conferences, student projects, performances and regular quizzes, tests and informal assessments provide a spectrum of feedback on student achievement.

Regular, formative assessments (tests following a chapter in Mathematics or Spanish Language, for example) help to understand a student’s progress across the given curriculum are an expectation of instruction at CCS. Formative assessments are not used as a competitive tool, and are never used to rank students or make those who achieve below the norm feel unsuccessful.

We also participate in district and state mandated standardized assessments, including:

  • TCAP (Transitional Colorado Assessment Program)
  • NWEA (The Northwest Evaluation Association)
  • ACT Explore and Plan Academic Assessment Tests for grades 9 and 10
  • SAT - College Entrance Examination
  • PSAT (For Juniors, qualifies students for the National Merit Scholarship)
  • DIBELS Reading Progress Monitoring grades K-3

At the beginning of the school year, following an initial assessment period, students, parents and teachers will meet to make an Individual Learning Plan for each student. The plan will include specific academic goals based on previously acquired test data, or if this is not available for a new student entering the program, the initial first weeks’ in class will allow the teacher the chance to conduct assessments and help guide the student towards significant, achievable goals for the remainder of the semester.

In-class tests, projects and student work will develop a body of evidence that supports student achievement towards their specific goals. If a student is not making progress towards goals in their learning plan, teachers will change the learning plan in consultation with the student. At the end of each semester, teachers will discuss with parents and students at their conference, the progress the student is making toward the accomplishment of his/her goals, and refine the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) for the next semester. A written record of this conference is made and kept in the student’s records. These written records constitute a student’s enhanced transcript, which is routinely accepted by other schools and by colleges.