Sudbury schools operate on the unique philosophy that children can effectively govern themselves and their learning with limited adult guidance. Giving students the opportunity to govern themselves empowers them to feel a sense of ownership in their learning few other schools can offer.
Major decisions about what to learn, when to learn it, the rules that govern the school, and so much more are made in a forum environment where adults and students have an equal voice.
That's what a school does, right? Students are given information by teachers and they learn. Well, yes, and no.
Schools are modeled after the factory system from the industrial revolution. While some schools are progressive in shifting their instruction model to a more student-centered environment, the teacher is still in charge of the learning and what is to be learned. Sudbury's philosophy allows students the liberty of guiding their own learning in a much more natural way.
As a private school, we are not subject to the standardized testing that public school students must endure.
Standardized tests are not a proven indicator of the learning that has taken place, neither is it an indicator of a student's ability to engage in higher order thinking. These testing models do not measure interpersonal skills, the ability to govern oneself, or growth over time (arguably a much better indicator of learning).
Standardized testing serves the primary purpose of collecting data for schools, districts, and states to make decisions on funding and use the snap-shot data to judge the success of a school. Imagine judging the current and future success of a child on the results of a single, high-stakes test. Even public school teachers feel standardized testing has become too large a focus. The Sudbury model creates life-long learners.