possible to see the steps students take to construct knowledge and develop their own educational mechanisms. Rubrics The Middle School utilizes rubrics as scoring guides that evaluate the quality of student's constructed responses. Rubrics help guides distinguish among student responses by setting forth central elements to the response, then indicating how to evaluate the relative quality of those elements. In order for a rubric to be effective it is necessary each evaluative criterion to be accompanied by a description of what constitutes a strong, relative response. Projects and Presentations At Mountaintop children can demonstrate their learning and knowledge through demonstration, or explanation in the context of projects or presentations. Projects and presentations are designed as inclusive yet specialized means for students to demonstrate competence. They can be individual endeavors or accomplished in a group, and usually require a broad range of competencies. Children generally choose to embark on larger scale projects and presentations when they understand a rich core of subject matter and can apply their knowledge in a resourceful, persuasive and imaginative way. The fact that most projects and presentations are meant to become public helps to set self-imposed quality guidelines. Student- Guide Conferences At the elementary and middle school levels students and guides meet one-on-one. Conferences are a medium for students and teachers to reflect on the student's progress in general or toward a specific goal. A child's own interest and attitude toward the meetings help create a learning partnership with the guide. Direct engagement is one of the most effective ways to gain insight into a child's learning. During the conference, the guide listens, asks questions, elicits demonstrations, checks work and progress and plans for the upcoming week. Through this fairly structured process, the guide is able to obtain valuable diagnostic information while building trust and rapport with the student. Curriculum and Lessons The curriculum and sequence of lessons provides a cumulative record of a student's achievements over a three-year period. Use of this system allows Mountaintop to track each student's progress through the academic span of chronological benchmarks from toddler through middle school. Progress Reports Guides prepare detailed reports twice each year that describe general curriculum and developmental outcomes and provide child-specific feedback related to areas of interest (student choice) and focus (guide lessons). At the toddler and Children’s House levels, progress reports are done as picture portfolios that show a child working in each area of the classroom. The photos also portray a student’s 110