A rigorous, wide-as-you-can-dream curriculum.
At Concord Academy we publish no class ranking system and award no academic prizes or honors. That practice sets us apart from many private high schools in Massachusetts, and we have long taken pride in the collaborative, creative, intellectually driven, and mutually supportive environment that is possible when students are freed from pressure to compete against one another.
Grades and Evaluations
Perhaps most valuable for CA students is the individualized attention and evaluation of their work that they receive from their teachers. At the midpoint and end of every semester, faculty send evaluations to students and copies to their advisors and their families, ensuring regular communication with our students’ networks of support.
We want students to begin their time at CA by pursuing intellectual curiosity broadly and stretching their creative muscles — to feel emboldened to take risks and discover new interests. Thus only courses taken at Concord Academy after the freshman year are included in the student’s grade-point average (GPA).
Grades are given only at the end of each semester and are assigned on a scale of A+ to D–; a failing grade (E) receives no credit. Courses that exceed the graduation requirements may be taken on a pass/fail basis, to encourage students to explore subjects they might otherwise not expect to study.
Typical Course Loads
Major courses in the curriculum receive 3 credits per semester and meet three times per week. Minor courses receive ½, 1, or 2 credits per semester and require proportionately less time in meetings and preparation. The minimum semester commitment is 14 credits with four majors. A moderate semester load is 16 or 17 credits, including four or five majors. The maximum semester commitment is 20 credits. Taking six majors requires permission from the academic dean. In some instances, students may audit courses if space allows.
We believe that moving your body is a critical component of a CA education. So too is participating in cocurricular activities that enhance the academic experience and strengthen the community. Thus students are required to participate in cocurricular offerings each academic year.
Students can select from our many athletic offerings, certain dance classes, the fall and/or winter mainstage theatrical productions, or the community service program to meet the cocurricular graduation requirement. First-year students and sophomores participate in cocurricular offerings during all three seasons, while juniors and seniors may opt out for one season each year. In grades 9, 10, and 11, one additional Health and Wellness course per year is also required. Sports practices are scheduled to allow students to participate in music lessons and ensemble groups one day per week, as well.