Statement of Principles on Awards & Standardized Test Results

Awards Policy

The Overlake School eliminated school-generated awards more than ten years ago. With talented high achieving students, it became increasingly difficult to identify the “best English, or Foreign Language, or community service, all-around student.” The process disappointed students, parents and faculty and, in the end, did not serve the more important values to which we subscribe. With no awards, the burden of choosing a “winner” is removed, and all students who contribute to making this a better community can be acknowledged.

Will the lack of school-generated awards impact college admissions? “Personal Recognition Programs,” which is what the National Association of College Admissions Counselors calls awards programs, ranks among the lowest factors in the college admissions process. Grades,the rigor of the academic program, test scores and recommendations remain the top factors considered in college admissions decisions.

Standardized Test Results Policy

Overlake challenges students to stretch themselves academically. We value students who pursue their intellectual passions for the sake of learning, and we encourage them to take academic challenges without worrying about test scores. In support of our philosophy, The Overlake School chooses not to report advanced placement (AP) test scores on our website.

The reasons are two-fold: First, it is easy to draw inaccurate or inappropriate conclusions from a set of scores, particularly when the sample size is small. Students and groups of students differ from year to year, and so do test score averages. Secondly, publicly posting test scores serves to emphasize only one aspect of the learning process. Test results are not the end goal, but rather an added benefit of excellent instruction and focused learning. Of course, we do have current and historical advanced placement test data. If you are interested in our standardized test results, feel free to contact the department chair or the Director of Admission.

Included in our school profile, which is sent to colleges as part of the seniors’ application for admission, is data on grade point averages (GPA) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores. These are not reported individually, but as a band or range in order to give colleges a sense of the academic qualifications of the senior class.