As the Academic Studio’s year-end sciences and humanities projects symposium came to a close in May, every 9th and 10th grade student had something to celebrate. Each student had experienced remarkable double-digit growth in every subject on the ACT’s Explore and Plan Tests between August and March. Moreover, the majority of 10th graders were scoring college-ready.
Students also passed the four required End of Course Tests at a rate of 99%, with 89% scoring at the two highest levels. These results are among the best in the state. Most importantly, students who had entered the Academic Studio well below grade in reading, writing and math have caught up in just two years.
Test results, however, are not NOCCA’s goal: ultimately, we want students to develop the same passion for math, science, and the humanities that they have for the arts. We do not want to just meet state, national and international standards but to help each student reach his or her highest level of success as an artist and as an intellectual.
While year one presented challenges for students as they learned how to deeply analyze and constantly revise work to improve it, “I understand everything now,” says 10th grade student Princey Walker. “I find so many connections between humanities and my art, it’s crazy. I feel like a genius when that happens.” “I’ve learned how to branch off from any subject and look at it from so many perspectives,” added Tori Borja. “The bar was set so high in the first year but we’re into the groove now.”
Initially printed in The NOCCA Institute’s July 2013 Aspirations newsletter