Bronx Lab School prides itself on promoting students’ ownership of their own learning through inquiry-based classrooms, teaching Habits of Mind, and using a mastery-based grading system.

Inquiry-Based Classrooms

Student-centered inquiry is the bedrock of the curriculum and pedagogical approach at Bronx Lab School. Teachers develop questions that spark curiosity and drive students to read, write, think, share, explore, solve, create, collaborate, present, question, defend, negotiate, compromise and reflect. Inquiry is a meaningful process that facilitates deep understanding rather than standardized, rote responses.


Habits of Mind

The Habit of Mind are the foundation for inquiry-based learning at Bronx Lab School. Teachers promote awareness of the five Habits of Mind in class daily to prepare students for higher education and participation in society:

  1. Analyzing Evidence: support a given viewpoint and examine various forms of evidence
  2. Multiple Viewpoints: see an issue from different perspectives
  3. Intellectual Curiosity: think critically about the world around them and ask, “why?”
  4. Taking Creative Risks: step outside your comfort zone to try or explore something new
  5. Metacognition: reflect on your own learning


Mastery-Based Grading

The Bronx Lab School community uses mastery-based grading (MBG) to guide all students to achieve the highest academic standards. We understand that grades are not used to punish or reward but to fairly measure student progress and growth towards meeting learning standards. Staff consistently implement multiple assessments that give students opportunities to meet and exceed the standards. Mastery-based grading builds skills in students that allow them to reflect on their growth and progress towards mastery.

MBG is a school-wide form of assessment that focuses on what a student is learning, shown by demonstrations of content knowledge and skills through student work. Students are assessed on Learning Standards, which are the goals and expectations of what each student should be able to do, know and understand over a given period of time.

Grades represent the progress that students have made toward mastering the skills and content outlined for the course. Teachers break long-term learning standards into supporting standards that help scaffold students’ progress. Assessments are then linked with the supporting standards to build a “body of evidence” that provides information about a student’s progress toward meeting the long-term standard.

MBG opens the door for students to take ownership of their own learning. It is expected that teachers, students, and parents have regular communication about what a students should be learning, which standards they have already met or exceeded, and which standards they need to continue working on.