Testing in progressive schools

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Testing in progressive schools

Academic Excellence in a Progressive School overlaps with traditional schools in some ways. In some ways they are, I think, add-ons. The overlap is the Progressive Schools do the traditional forms of testing, PSAT, SAT, and so on and they compile grade point averages and so on. I know at my old school, Crossroads, we didn't give letter grades. K through Eighth, but we started giving them at Ninth through Twelfth because of the college requirements. I think what's added on in Progressive Schools is that there are these projects that kids will get involved in. Project-based learning, experiential projects, group projects, cooperative learning projects, are probably given more attention than they are in traditional school; where the focus is preparing for major tests and writing major essays, that are solitary activities.

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Paul Cummins, PhD

Educator & Author

Dr. Paul Cummins, President and CEO of Coalition for Engaged Education (CEE), received his bachelor of arts from Stanford University, his MAT from Harvard, and his doctorate from the University of Southern California.  In 1971, he co-founded Crossroads School in Santa Monica and built it into one of Los Angeles’s most successful educational institutions and a national model for innovative, independent schools. 

In 1995, Cummins stepped down as Headmaster of Crossroads and formed New Visions Foundation (now Coalition for Engaged Education) to offer opportunities for Engaged Education to all youth. The first venture was New Roads School, a diverse, K-12 independent school in Santa Monica that has a deep commitment to social justice. New Roads devotes 40% of its tuition budget to need-based student financial aid, guaranteeing access to students from a wide socioeconomic array. Cummins has since implemented a number of innovative programs to help children at risk.

Cummins has published four books on education, including Proceed With Passion: Engaging Students in Meaningful Education (2004), and Two Americas, Two Educations: Funding Quality Schools for all Students (2007), both published by Red Hen Press. His most recent book of essays, Why Poetry? Reflections on Poetry, Writing and Culture, was published in 2009 by Xlibris, in addition to two volumes of his poetry and two children's books published in recent years. He is currently finishing Confessions of a Headmaster: My Pursuit of Joy and Justice in Education (forthcoming from Red Hen Press).

Cummins and his wife Mary Ann reside in Santa Monica. They have four daughters and five grandchildren.

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