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The critical-creative act is the New School’s sharp instrument, and the assessment mode reflects our understanding of the student as the co-producer of her/his work. As such we rejoice in the abandonment of the factory model of the unseen exam: a labour-saving exercise in intellectual administration on the part of the university in the service of efficiency, standardisation and predictability. Good riddance to that!

At the end of the year, a New School student will present a portfolio of work that might orient one or more cultural themes. A variety of methods and forms is actively encouraged, as indeed is work with collaborative basis between students, the only stipulations being that each portfolio should comprise:

A minimum of two different media, one of which should be writing.


An integration of critical and creative approaches.


Students present their work to each other during the final two seminars of the second semester, These are invariably festive occasions. Portfolios are then formally submitted within a fortnight for appreciation by Prof. Robin Kirkpatrick and one other Ensemble member. These are awarded a straight ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ alongside constructive comments. We wish to encourage students to spend their time thinking, writing and making, rather than fretting over competitive grades. Reports on student works-in-progress can be uploaded to the Stories section of the website over the course of the academic year. A separate external examiner is appointed for the year’s cohort, and s/he submits a critical report on the quality of the course, the teaching and the student work produced.

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