Grades & Tests
“The role of education is to interest the child profoundly in an external activity to which he will bring his potential,” Dr. Maria Montessori
At Hand In Hand Christian Montessori our educational model provides children with the opportunity to find their passion in life, through created growth and learning. We do not emphasize grades or tests, but allow the children to create meaningful projects and set challenging goals to reach their potential.
Each Montessori classroom environment contain materials and lessons which have been time-tested (some over 100 years). These prepared environments are dynamic places in which children find and choose meaningful work, rise to the challenge and feel the satisfaction of a job well done.
Traditional school settings measure children’s advancement and development on the results of tests and grades. At Hand In Hand Christian Montessori there are no grades because these measurements do not reflect the development of the qualities that we should be looking for in children. According to Maren Schmidt M. Ed in her book, “Understand Montessori: A Guide for Parents”, she writes, “ The child’s work is the test in Montessori environments. If you can do it, you know how to do it. Why use grades and tests when we already know the answers by observation?”
At Hand In Hand Christian Montessori, trained Montessori teachers provide assessment of the learning needs as well as the accomplishments of the child through observation and activity charts. They focus on guiding the individual development by looking at a child’s concentration on tasks and the level of independence the child shows in self-selected activities.
The Montessori program has 3 key elements:
– Adults professionally trained in Montessori philosophy, methods and materials for their group
– Prepared environments based on 3 year age groups.
– Children’s free choice of activity within a 3 hour work cycle.
So why do we offer optional standardized tests?
At Hand In Hand we offer families the option of having their child take the Peabody or the Iowa assessment tests. Some families find these tests helpful to receive feedback about their child’s skills and future challenges as they pursue their academic path. The tests also allow tangible evidence for the parents to bridge traditional education with Montessori. While helpful, these tests do not show the depth or scope of work which is covered in the Montessori classroom.
At Hand In Hand Christian Montessori parents have the option of having their child tested. The options are either the Peabody Testing assessment or the Iowa Assessment. Each test is administered by a certified evaluator.
The Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT-R) is a standardized, nationally norm-referenced achievement test. It is individually administered by a trained examiner, with assessment completed in the following content areas: Reading recognition, reading comprehension, math, spelling, and general information. The scores are calculated immediately with derived scores indicating grade level equivalents and percentile rankings. The test is oral in format and almost conversational in tone. The test lasts about an hour, though it’s not timed and is unique in that it tests up to each child’s ability. The Peabody can be administered any time during the year and will assess grades K through 12.
The Iowa Assessment, is a set of standardized achievement tests used by schools in the US and in schools abroad for assessing children from K-12 grades. First published in 1926, the test is now in its tenth version. The test is available in 13 levels that roughly correspond to the year in school and measure academic knowledge. Each level of the test is broken into sub-tests or strands covering various subjects such as reading comprehension, mathematics problem-solving, language, spelling, listening comprehension, science and social science. The reports include narrative summaries, process and cluster summaries, and graphic displays to clarify the student’s performance and guide planning and analysis. Administrators obtain critical data to document and monitor the progress of all children and to dis-aggregate results according to federal mandates. The results provide parents with a better understanding of their child’s achievement level and how to direct home involvement.