Academic Assessments

Preparing students for success beyond our walls is a team effort at Taft. To that end, we develop close relationships with our students, and make their well being—academic, social, and emotional—a priority in our community.

During the course of the academic year, the full faculty gathers seven times to discuss how each student is performing, both in and out of the classroom. Teachers, resident faculty, coaches, and academic advisors all share perspectives on each student’s development.

Formal assessments of academic performance are conducted regularly, and may include tests, papers, lab work, and, at the end of each semester, final exams. Based on these assessments and other measures specific to each course, teachers submit grades every three weeks; academic reports are made available through our portal four times during the academic year. Grades are awarded in each class, and include two components: a numerical average based on a 40-100 achievement scale, and a letter grade, drawn from our academic habits rubric. Academic habits are broadly categorized under “Planning and Persistence” and “Engagement and Self-Regulation,” and include assessments of organization, curiosity, class preparation, and collaboration, and more.

Achievement Scale

93—100 High Honors
87—92 Honors
80—86 Meets Expectations
70—79 Approaching Expectations
60—69 In Danger of Failure
40—59 Failure

Academic Habits Letter Grades

E Exceeds Expectations
M Meets Expectations
A Approaches Expectations
N Needs Attention
U Unacceptable

Recognizing Growth and Excellence

Students earning an academic average of 87 or above for a semester are named to the honor roll; students earning an average of 93 or above are awarded high honors.

The faculty selects outstanding students for awards sponsored by Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Chicago, University of Virginia, Brown University, Dartmouth College, Smith College, Holy Cross College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and The Bausch and Lomb Company. The highest academic award given at graduation, The Aurelian Award, is sponsored by The Aurelian Honor Society of Yale University.

Students who rank at the top of the class are inducted into Cum Laude, a national scholarship society in secondary schools corresponding to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi in colleges and scientific schools.

In the Senior year, qualified students compete for national recognition and college scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Competition. The faculty selects one senior to compete for the Morehead Scholarship at the University of North Carolina and another for the Jefferson Scholarship at the University of Virginia.