at St. Anthonys

Research shows that a focus on exams and grades alters the way students learn, making learning a means to an end rather than a good in itself.  This contributes to a view of school as a necessary evil on the road to commercial success rather than a joyful discovery that forms the soul. In addition, student anxiety over grades and exams is on the rise nationwide, contributing significantly to the teenage depression/anxiety/suicide epidemic. 

My vision of the future is no longer of people taking exams and proceeding on that certification from the secondary school to the university, but of individuals passing from one stage of independence to a higher, by means of their own activity, through their own effort of will, which constitutes the inner evolution of the individual.

—Dr. Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence

With this in mind, we are striving to find a balance between avoiding a commercially-driven, standards-based education and a healthy determination of what a student has grasped and what she needs additional instruction in. 

Students may be given quizzes (oral or written) or exams to assess their knowledge in a subject area, but we refrain from handing out letter grades or allowing students to compare results. Emphasis is placed on honest, diligent work to the best of one's ability and the excitement of discovery; quizzes and exams are primarily for the teacher to know how to best direct her students.


Rather than grades on report cards, Parent-Teacher-Student discussions & progress reports are held quarterly. Each teacher will thoughtfully fill out a progress report for each student before each of the parent-teacher conferences.

Students will present work they have been doing as well as submit a portfolio of all work completed during that quarter. Teachers will keep records of work accomplished and be ready to translate their knowledge of a student's progress into a conventional transcript for use in the case of college application or transfer.

We are also partnering with Classical Learning Test (CLT)* to assess the students  and to mark their progress at the beginning/end of each year. We will not, however, be "teaching to the test". Through the CLT, parents can also see how their students are doing compared with other students across the nation.

*The Classic Learning Test (CLT) is the new standard for college entrance assessments. It is designed for high school juniors and seniors. The CLT takes two hours, and tests for grammar, literary comprehension, and mathematical and logical reasoning; it also contains an optional, ungraded essay portion.

The CLT10 is the official preparatory exam for the CLT. It is designed for high school freshmen and sophomores. The exam takes two hours and tests for the similar content as the CLT, at an age-appropriate level and with fewer questions of the highest difficulty.

The CLT8 is an assessment designed for 8th grade students preparing for high school. Some high schools administer the CLT8 as an entrance exam, and it can also be used to monitor academic progress (both individual and school-wide) for 7th and 8th graders. The exam takes two hours and tests for grammar, literary comprehension, and mathematical and logical reasoning.