The Pathfinder School: Traverse City Community School

Metric of Success

Success can be gauged in many ways:

Standardized Achievement Tests

Standardized achievement tests are one way by which people measure success.

Grade 4-8 students participate in the Terra Nova test, the official State Standardized Achievement Test for 28 out of 50 states and which includes over one million participants nationwide. Pathfinder students consistently score in the top 25% nationally with no class time taken for test preparation. Our middle school students distinguish themselves by placing academically on average in the top 10% nationally on this test.

In addition, in MEAP testing, seventh graders who have taken this test voluntarily with no test preparation have outscored the top school districts in the State of Michigan, including Grosse Pointe, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Traverse City.

The Pathfinder approach to education recognizes that a "one size fits all" method to teaching and assessment is very limited. Therefore, we use standardized tests as one of many measures of achievement.

Unique Expression of Intelligence

Our students have a wonderful variety of ways by which to exhibit understanding.

By recognizing each child's unique expression of intelligence—whether favoring pencil and paper with standard testing and written exercises, or visual representations, physical constructions, kinetic activities, or artistic interpretations which show comprehension—our students have many modes by which to achieve success.

Real Life Applications

In daily experience, as adults, we know that life is not a standardized test.

Each day, we encounter real life situations that demand our skill and knowledge—likewise, our students participate in developing understanding through more comprehensive models that mirror "real life" applications and measures of success. Quite simply, this makes sense to kids and connects them with the process of learning. They achieve success by understanding what they are doing and why it is relevant to them personally.