Because of the small class sizes, students are required and expected to actively participate in each class session. The curriculum is diverse and rich, offering students many opportunities to demonstrate their ability to wrestle and interact with the material.
It is assumed that each student is capable of pursuing their studies until there is clear evidence to the contrary. Progress is noted by tutors throughout the semester, and regular attendance is required. All absences and instances of being clearly unprepared for, or lack of participation in, tutorials are taken into consideration when determining academic standing.
The Don Rag
In keeping with the Oxford model, the most important form of evaluation within the College program is the don rag. Once every semester, the student will meet with the tutors for an oral examination. Students are questioned on the texts they have read, the essays they have written, and on their critical and interpretive opinions. These are not a litmus test of content memorization, but rather an encouragement to the students to comprehensively approach their learning; to be able to articulate the ideas they come across during the course of their education, and their own analysis and response to those ideas.
Rather than merely working for grades, students are encouraged to develop their powers of understanding. Therefore, within the college, grading is not of central importance. Students are told their grades only on request. The tutor’s comprehensive judgment of a student is reported each semester as a conventional letter grade, A, B, C, D or F, where C indicates that the work is at a satisfactory level. Such a grading system is necessary for students who wish to enter graduate or professional school, or to transfer to another college. If it becomes evident that a student is not progressing or that the learning process has stopped, the student is asked to leave the college.