Assessment and Testing

A Marin Horizon School, our students’ evaluation is based upon many elements:
  • student work (class work and homework)
  • teacher observation
  • skill levels as measured against grade-level benchmarks
  • student self-reflection
  • class participation
Important assessment tools used in elementary and middle school are:
  • self-assessment
  • written assignment sheets
  • rubrics
  • tests and quizzes
In early elementary, your child may be asked to assess his or her own major assignments even before the teacher does. This exercise helps the student learn to reflect on the quality of his or her own effort.

In upper elementary and middle school, students help set their own academic goals early in the year and evaluate how well they have accomplished these goals at the end of the year. This process helps each student develop the ability to understand and communicate his or her strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, it encourages the student to make a commitment to personal improvement.

Written Assignment Sheets

Beginning in lower elementary, students use written criteria lists as a guideline for what to include in their written work. They are most commonly used in Writer's Workshop activities that include peer editing against the criteria lists. Written assignment sheets with criteria become more complex and challenging as students move into upper grades.


Rubrics are used as an evaluation tool in Elementary and Middle School. Students receive guidelines at the beginning of a major assignment so they know in advance the criteria by which their work will be assessed.

For example, a rubric for the presentation of a major project might list a range of possible scores for each of the following: depth of research, organization and content, written presentation, oral presentation, and ability to field audience questions. Total earned points translate to a percentage "grade" for the assignment. At the end of the term, grades for major projects are combined with weighted percentages for homework, class participation, and tests and quizzes. The total grade is a composite of all of these percentages.

Specific expectations and clear measurement help students better understand their accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses. When Marin Horizon students move on to high school they will have had many years of self-assessment experience along with a well-established sense of themselves as motivated independent learners. Bay Area high schools are very familiar with our numerical percentage grading system and in many cases prefer its exactness to other methods of assessment.