St. Andrew's student-teacher ratio is five to one. The average class size is 11 students. Sizes of individual classes may depend on the department and the level of the course.
The School requires the following yearlong course credits for graduation: four credits in English; four credits in mathematics; two credits in history, including one in United States history; three credits in a laboratory science; two credits or through the third level, whichever is more advanced, of the same classical or modern language (at least three consecutive year credits is strongly recommended). Students must also take a half-credit course in Health and Wellness in the IV Form year, religious studies courses in the IV and VI Forms, and must participate in a curricular or co-curricular aspect of the arts program before graduation.
The minimum course load for
the various forms within the School is as follows:
- Introduction to the Arts
one-credit courses, including History and Literature of Religious Thought: The Abrahamic Tradition
- Health and Wellness
- Philosophy / Religious Studies
Petitions for exceptions to
the above requirements may be made to the Academic Committee.
Course Planning and Placement
In the early spring, students and their faculty advisors plan the course schedule for the next and succeeding school years. After consultation with parents, academic advisors, members of the faculty and, in the V Form,a college counselor, students submit their class selections to a committee composed of the Academic Dean, the Director of College Counseling and the academic department heads for final review.
Courses at the upper levels of each department throughout the academic program are labeled “Advanced Study” to denote the quality and rigor of college-level instruction. “Advanced Topics Tutorials” are individualized and often student-directed courses allowing further advanced study in particular disciplines.
The Academic Dean, Registrar, and department heads study the previous course of study, transcripts, and recommendations of all incoming students to help determine proper placement in St. Andrew’s courses. New students often take placement tests in mathematics and foreign language.
Examinations and Assessments
Students take examinations in their courses at the end of the first and second semesters. In addition, they take standardized tests as the School recommends for college preparation and admission. Fourth Form and V Form students take the PSAT, which for the V Form serves as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. In their V and VI Form years, students generally take the SAT, the ACT and at least two SAT subject tests. Students may take Advanced Placement examinations in various subjects; some Advanced Study courses will prepare for these tests, but in most cases students will have to prepare some topics outside of general class instruction.
St. Andrew’s is also the leading independent school in the country in the use of the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA), an innovative written exam that eschews traditional multiple-choice format and helps schools measure the quality of their instruction in writing, problem-solving, analysis, and calculation. Developed by the Council for Aid to Education, this test, a version of which is used at over 200 colleges and universities across the country, assesses students’ readiness to think critically, adjudicate between competing hypotheses, and present their conclusions in a clear and compelling way—skills crucial to college, work, and civic life and prominent in a St. Andrew’s education. Students take this test at the beginning of the III Form year and in the spring of the V and VI Form years.
Reports and Grading System
The School reports numerical grades: 85 or above represents honors work, 60 is passing, and below 60, failing. The School sends reports home in November, February and April. In October and March, each student’s advisor writes a letter noting the student’s mid-term performance. In June, the student’s advisor writes a complete review that accompanies final grades and teacher comments. The Academic Dean and academic advisors may also write letters in special instances.
The Academic Program makes effective use of modern information technology in all disciplines. Nearly 100 networked computers located in classrooms and laboratories across campus provide students and faculty with Internet access, e-mail accounts, file storage, printing services and specialized academic software. A fleet of iPads allows students in modern language classes to hone their listening and speaking skills by working with interactive audio and video recordings.
Physics students use blogs to record and reflect on their work, which in turn connect them with professors and science writers across the country. Singers learn from interactive theory and sight-reading online resources, and instrumentalists record and submit their practice sessions for feedback from their instructors. Students in “flipped” mathematics classrooms view mini-lectures online and clarify, refine and apply their understanding in collaborative problem-solving during class time. Both within computer science courses and as extra-curricular exploration, students use School resources to develop software projects and apps of direct use to the School community. Faculty employ the learning-management system Canvas for many classes, allowing students detailed access to their courses and coursework and more immediate and continued feedback from their teachers.
With all of these resources, students learn to be mindful users of technology, not just consumers of content but creators, discerning when, where, and how technology can be best employed.
The mission of the Irene duPont Library is to encourage academic excellence by providing service and instruction to the School community, to collaborate with faculty in designing learning opportunities through information resources and technology, and to promote effective and discriminating users of ideas and information.
Built in October 1956 and renovated in 2008, the Library features ten individual study carrels, a computer lab, five group study rooms, a periodical and reference room, and a collection of approximately 31,500 print volumes, 53,000 electronic books and 100 print periodicals. The print collection grows by about 700 books each year. Additionally, the Library has over 35 electronic reference sources and full-text article databases covering a wide variety of
subject areas. The Library also loans cameras, iPods, GPS systems, Smart Pens, video cameras, Kindles, iPads, calculators, headphones, Mobile Maker Space cart with 3D printer, Arduino Boards and tools, and videos (3,500 fiction and nonfiction titles) for student and faculty use. In an attempt to reach out to patrons on campus and beyond, the Library maintains a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to inform students, faculty and alumni on topics such as plagiarism, information literacy, research and the School archives. While the Library strives to provide the best technology and access to information in a secondary school setting, the Library itself remains a serene, casual, academic environment.
With an ever-expanding library website, the Library facilitates student access to information and provides formal library instruction. This work, begun during orientation classes for new students and continuing in other academic classes throughout a St. Andrew's career, affords students the library research skills for the academic environment of this school and beyond.
The library website is also an access point for the School Archives, which offer numerous primary research opportunities for students, faculty, and alumni. The website also provides access to numerous class syllabi (Course Guides), a compilation that allows for greater collaboration within the community and enables the librarians to support the curriculum and intellectual growth of our students, faculty, and staff.