Grades 1-5

Our classical liberal arts curriculum capitalizes on the natural stages of intellectual development to enhance academic performance and character growth. The classical curriculum is grounded in the traditional trivium of grammar, logic and rhetoric. It cultivates the arts of reading, writing, listening, speaking, inquiring, and thinking.

In grades 1-4, a child's intellect is like a sponge, ready to soak in and retain an amazing quantity of information. Hence, classical instruction seeks to cement the foundations of knowledge and truth. Memorization and learning by heart is naturally joyful at this stage. Knowledge and skill such as arithmetic, phonics, penmanship, spelling, reading comprehension, and factual retention are critical to this stage of development. With a strong foundation, students are ready to launch into deeper and more complex concepts and truths. 

5th grade begins the transition to more abstract thinking. The ability to find causal relationships and logical connections emerges. These elements are incorporated into the curriculum in preparation for junior high.

Iowa Tests of Basic Skills

Every spring a school-wide assessment is administered to measure student performance and reflect on areas where teachers can enhance instruction. All students in grades 1-8 are required to take the examination.

The Iowa Tests offer educators a diagnostic look at how their students are progressing in key academic areas, and offers diagnostic data that can be used to create intervention groups and to drive curricular decisions.

Click here to find out more about the purpose of the Iowa Test

Percentile Rank of Average Standard Score: National School Norms

Grade Reading Language Mathematics Composite
1 85% 66% 60% 77%
2 74% 68% 66% 74%
3 90% 65% 77% 84%
4 99% 88% 92% 98%
5 93% 79% 84% 86%
6 82% 72% 85% 80%
7 82% 76% 75% 81%
8 74% 69% 42% 67%


School Norms are norms (specifically National Percentile Ranks) that are developed from distributions of average student scores, using a nationally representative sample of students. The average scores are computed for each grade within a school building. School norms are used to indicate the status or relative rank of the school (based on average student performance per grade) compared to other schools in the nation.

Grade Equivalent of Average Standard Score

Grade Reading Language Mathematics Composite
1 2.3 2.0 1.9 2.1
2 3.1 3.1 3.0 3.2
3 4.8 4.1 4.3 4.6
4 6.9 6.1 6.2 6.7
5 7.5 6.9 7.0 7.3
6 8.1 7.8 8.6 8.2
7 9.5 9.5 9.1 9.5
8 10.4 10.3 8.6 9.9


The grade equivalent is a number that describes a student's location on an achievement continuum. Grade Equivalents are expressed in terms of grade and months into grade, assuming a 10-month school year (e.g., 8.4 means after 4 months of instruction in the 8th grade). The Grade Equivalent corresponding to a given score on any test indicates the grade level at which the typical student obtains this score.