Blake on Reynolds.png

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 student, the only stipulations being that each portfolio should comprise:

A minimum of two different media, one of which should be writing (8,000 to 10,000-words total)


At least one critical essay and one creative work


Portfolios are delivered a fortnight after the end of second-semester formal teaching and are double-blind examined by two Ensemble members in terms of a straight ‘pass’ or ‘fail.’ Constructive comments are then issued. We wish to encourage students to spend their time thinking, writing and making, rather than fretting over competitive grades. A separate external examiner is appointed for the year’s cohort, and he or she submits a critical report on the quality of the course, the teaching and the student work produced.