Narrative Evaluations: A Portrait of You

We believe that letter grades are inadequate evaluations.

At Hampshire, narrative evaluations are used in place of letter grades to assess performance and progress on each assignment, project, and course.

These evaluations parallel professional performance reviews, helping students identify their areas of growth potential along with their areas of strength.

View a real narrative evaluation

What do graduate schools and employers think?

They appreciate Hampshire's written evaluations, which form a multidimensional narrative transcript. In fact, our evaluations help students get ready for the real world, where they will receive performance reviews, not grades.

And we're in the top 1 percent of colleges whose graduates earn doctorates.

Read more about Hampshire outcomes

What faculty say about narrative evaluations

"With narrative evaluations, students don’t compare themselves to each other; they compare themselves to the best that they can be. With grades there is a tendency to think ‘I got an A. I don’t need to do anything more.’ My view is that no matter how good you are, you can always do more. You can always be better.” -- Joanna Morris, associate professor of cognitive science

"You learn so little from a grade, especially in a subject like physics. A couple of well-chosen sentences do a lot more--for the good of everyone concerned--to communicate educationally relevant material than a single number or even letter with a +/- suffix.” -- Herb Bernstein, professor of physics

What students say about narrative evaluations

"Beyond making me very aware of my strengths and weaknesses, narrative evaluations identify spaces of potential--for growth, refinement, divergence, and convergence--that allow me to more clearly work toward becoming an increasingly capable user and creator of information.” -- Lucas Ospina, student

"Narrative evaluations turn the classroom spaces at Hampshire into collaborative, not competitive, environments where students can work together and combine knowledge in a productive way. Instead of comparing myself to others in order to gauge how I am learning material and progressing in a class, I get feedback on how I, as an individual and as a learner, have progressed from the beginning of the class.” -- Sage Campbell, student