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Assessment & Outcomes

At MIR, children engage in purposeful, intellectual, and independent work. The Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) at MIR are defined within the context of the Montessori curriculum, as directed by Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). It forms the basis of the educational program for every student at MIR.

For academic research on Montessori outcomes read about the science of Montessori here.

Student Learning Outcomes

Sensorial: MIR children will have the ability to use their senses to understand their abstract and concrete experiences in the world around them.

Practical Life: MIR children will have the ability and the desire to care for themselves, others and their environments.

Language: MIR children will be competent in expressing themselves in written and spoken language and competent in their understanding of the written and spoken words of others.

Mathematics: MIR children will be skillful in abstraction and reasoning. They will possess the ability to use deductive and inductive reasoning to solve symbolic and practical mathematical problems.

Science: MIR children will have a conscious awareness and understanding of the natural world and its order. They will have the ability to recognize and use the basic methods of scientific inquiry.

Cultural Subjects: MIR children will create a foundation for the appreciation of the humanities and the arts. They will have a sense of historical perspective, an understanding of one’s place in the world, and gratitude for the accomplishments of those who came before them.

Moral and Character Development: MIR children will possess a strong sense of self. They will be capable, responsible and ac- countable to themselves.

Social Development: MIR children will contribute positively to their school, local and global community. They will cooperate with others and proactively seek resolution of conflict.

Executive Functioning: MIR children will build a foundation for learning by practicing inhibitory control, time management, working memory and cognitive flexibility.

These SLOs form the basis of the educational program for every student at MIR.

This whitepaper dives into Optimal Developmental Outcomes: The Social, Moral, Cognitive, and Emotional Dimensions of a Montessori Education.

Assessment

In a conventional environment, children are given a set amount of time to master predetermined content. Assessment is focused on their progress within the given timeframe.

Methods used include tests, homework assignments, and written reports. Grades are the rubric to communicate children's mastery within the set timeframe. This type of assessment is called academic achievement assessment.

In this model, time is the most important factor in the assessment, and students are compared with each other to develop a norm-referenced scale (often a “bell curve”). Mastery is sacrificed in this model—children who do not master content must still move on to new content in time with their peers. Conversely, students who master concepts too quickly may be under-challenged.

Montessori flips the model, allowing each child the time he or she needs to ensure mastery. Because each student moves at their own pace, assessment must be continuous and individual. Students cannot be compared with each other in this model.

Assessment is used to support the learning process. Factors beyond academic learning are reported, including the social and emotional growth of the child. This is known as formative assessment.

Montessori teachers perform formative assessment through observation, by challenging students to solve specific problems, by asking them to teach younger students, or by holding an intellectual conversation with them. Students write essays, work on projects, and explain how they solved a particular problem.

It is the daily, constant interaction between teacher and child that tells us how a student is progressing, and whether they need extra help.

Standardized Testing

MIR conducts standardized tests for grades 3-6 each year.

  • Testing is a practical life activity in Montessori education -- standardized tests are given primarily to teach children how to take standardized tests, and to reduce test anxiety. We do not "teach to the test" or with a primary focus on generating high test scores to the exclusion of other learning.
  • Test results provide teachers and parents with an additional data point for the progress of each child. It is important to understand that results reflect only one snapshot in time when reviewing the progress of the child. A child's performance on a standardized test is influenced by many factors

Life after Montessori

"One test of the educational procedure is the happiness of the child." -- Maria Montessori

MIR students graduate with strong academic skills. They are strong communicators, fluent readers, and eloquent writers. They have a strong foundation in math, including arithmetic, geometry and algebra. They are experienced scientific researchers, with hands-on laboratory skills. We invite you to our annual Life after Montessori Parent Education Night in October to meet and ask questions of MIR graduates and their families to see real examples of MIR graduates.

The goal of a Montessori education is help students learn how to learn. MIR graduates are well-prepared for middle school and beyond. In an age where information becomes obsolete quickly, the focus of education must shift from facts (which go out of date as soon as new data is available) to process (how to learn, how to critically evaluate new data, how to apply concepts, how to solve problems, how to collaborate). We don't teach what to think; we teach how to think.