student in media lab

Guidelines for Writing Narrative Evaluations

(Voted on by school deans 9/13/11)

Narrative course and examination evaluations make up a student's permanent academic record and are compiled into the transcript portfolio. The portfolio may also include evaluations for supervised independent study projects, internships, community service, and other learning activities.

Evaluations are an assessment of the quality and characteristics of the student's performance. It is inappropriate (and, in some instances, a violation of the student's right to privacy) to include comments on areas unrelated to the student's work, such as personality traits, physical or learning disabilities, or speculations on the student's psychological state. While these may influence the quality of the work, specific mention (such as a parent's death or a mental health problem) is not usually necessary and may prejudice future readers, including admissions officers and employers.

An evaluation should be no more than one page in length. It should include one or two brief paragraphs describing the content and requirements of the learning experience, followed by an assessment of the student's performance. Address the student's mastery of course material, skills development, completion of tasks or assignments, attendance and participation in discussion. If a student has been part of a group project or presentation, do not refer by name to the other students.

Keep in mind that every evaluation has the potential to be reviewed by an outside source. Those used to fulfill Division I and II expectations and/or presented for transfer credit will be scrutinized in an application process. Ideally, the reader should be able to determine if a student has successfully met the requirements for completion, without any specific reference to grades. Though students are strongly encouraged to submit them for faculty or evaluators, self-evaluations are not included in a transcript. You may quote from a student's self-evaluation, but remember that outside readers will not necessarily understand the source of the quote.

At the end of each term, Division III and any additional evaluations for graduating students take priority. All evaluations must be received prior to the deadline in order for a student to graduate. Division II and III examination evaluations should be no more than two pages. In addition to evaluating the concentration, the Division II should include a list of relevant courses and discuss the fulfillment of the Multiple Cultural Perspectives Requirement. The community service evaluation is included separately, as are the Division III advanced educational activities.


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