Co-ed independent day school in Boston's Back Bay for academically adventurous students in grades 9–12

Student Engagement

In the fall of 2022, Challenge Success, a Stanford University program that measures student well-being in high-achieving public and private schools, surveyed Commonwealth students about their classes, workload, and stress levels. This was Commonwealth’s second administration of the Challenge Success survey; much like our 2019 results—and despite the pandemic’s setbacks—the findings were inspiring.

Challenge Success told us that Commonwealth students are “significantly more engaged” than practically all other schools they survey and that our results are “worth celebrating.” Our students care about understanding material more than they do about grades, they feel like they belong, and they engage purposefully in their school work, as you’ll see below.

I originally worried that the high level of academics would translate to an environment that was very competitive and high pressure; however, I have not found that to be true at all. Everyone here is completely dedicated to helping you succeed in any way they can. I have found that the teachers here are unlike anywhere else; they are always willing to answer your questions or set up meetings!
—Meredith '23


Commonwealth students...

...are engaged in their classes

Eighty percent of Commonwealth students report being “purposefully” or “fully” engaged in their school work, compared to 48% of students at peer schools (i.e., other small, independent schools). And Commonwealth students feel their work is relevant and useful, with 77% saying their main goal in all or most of their classes is to understand the material vs. 66% of students at peer schools.

...feel supported and like they belong.

On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being "strongly agree"), students’ responses averaged 4.4 when asked about teachers' care and support, compared to 4.1 at peer schools. Ninety-five percent of our students said they felt respected by teachers (compared with 86% at peer schools), and 85% said they have an adult they can go to at school. Commonwealth students rated their feeling of belonging at school as 3.9 (out of 5), compared to 3.6 amongst peer schools.

…find their school work meaningful.

Eighty-six percent of our students believe all or most of their homework is useful, compared with 50% of students at peer schools, and 87% said that the homework in all or most of their classes helped them learn the material (41% at peer schools). And 82% of our students said that none or only a few classes ever assigned busy work (43% at peer schools).

Words students most frequently used to describe Commonwealth include "challenging," "small," "community," "rigorous," "welcoming," "academic," "interesting," "engaging," "nerdy," "supportive," "kind," and "intellectual."