Assessment and Outcomes
Across all levels, Oak Hill Montessori provides a curriculum that is challenging, encourages exploration and promotes the development of leadership. Our educational philosophy and curriculum are based on Dr. Maria Montessori's vision of education, in which students are motivated by their innate desire to learn and their yearning for knowledge. The children engage in purposeful, intellectual and independent work. They are challenged through working with the Montessori materials, having concrete experiences and progressing at their own developmental pace to a level of abstract understanding. Their progression is student-driven and adult-guided, thus allowing for the steady development of self-motivated life-long learners.
2. Learning Results
Achievement at Oak Hill Montessori is based on the social, emotional and intellectual progress of each student. Therefore, assessment is not solely based upon test scores and grades, which reflect a limited aspect of intellectual ability and progress. Evaluation of student progress relies heavily on observation and verbal interaction as well as on work completed or achieved. The entire staff establishes a school culture of high expectations for themselves and for the students.
Montessori teachers assess the academic, physical, social, emotional and developmental progress of the child. Specially designed classroom materials, presentation sequences, teacher observations, student record keeping and student work are part of the daily assessment of progress that is woven into the fabric of the Montessori classroom.
Assessment Methods Include:
b. Three-Period Lesson
c. Student Self-Reporting
e. Mastery & Transference
Dr. Montessori was a scientist who spent countless hours observing her students. She watched carefully how children responded to the environment, assessing what support was necessary to give each child the optimum learning situation. Following her example, each Montessori teacher is meticulously trained to observe the class as a whole and the individuals with in it. She keeps records and makes notes on the following things:
1b. Three-Period Lesson
- Student use and facility with the materials
- Student awareness of the self-correcting aspects of the materials
- Creativity and exhaustion of the possibilities with the materials
- "Skipping steps," indicating readiness for the next level of presentations with the materials
- Student enthusiasm and satisfaction
- Repetition of activities
- Success with the materials
- Application of the concept outside of the use of materials
In Toddler through Elementary levels, concepts are presented to the children through concrete, manipulative materials. Names of objects, concepts and processes are given to the children through three-period lessons after the child has had a sensorial experience with the materials.
The three-period lesson involves three stages, using two or three objects, qualities or concepts to start.
First Period: Giving Information
. This is an introduction. The adult supplies the name, which allows the child to associate the name with what is being presented.
Second Period: Familiarization
. The second period consists of recognition of the object corresponding to the name. The child becomes familiar with what is being presented through repetition. The child comes to associate the name with the object or quality. This is the longest and most important period, as the subconscious is relating and recognizing the names with what is presented.
Third Period: Verification (Test of Knowledge)
. This is the period of mastery and a test. This is a rapid verification of the name or concept given in the first period. The guide elicits the information from the child.1c. Student Self-Reporting
Older students in the Elementary and Junior High levels become directly accountable for their work. Progress is assessed through the use of work diaries, frequent meetings with their teachers, peer editing and group discussions.
- Work Diaries / Journals
Students are required to record their work choices, the amount of time spent working, how they spent their independent work time and lessons they've been given.
- Frequent Meetings with the Teacher
Students review their work and work diaries with the teacher often. Variety of work, skills practiced, lessons received and lessons needed are discussed. Quality of work and on-going projects are also reviewed during these meetings.
- Peer Editing
Rubrics are designed to give students the opportunity to comment on the quality of each other's work. On a regular basis, older students are asked to assist their peers with materials or work that needs clarification. Junior High students are often required to have a peer edit their first draft before submission to the teacher.
- Group Discussions
Group discussions are held after students present completed work. These discussions allow for further comment on their research and writing.
- New Lessons
Additionally, students in a Montessori classroom are apt to request new lessons on work that they recognize they need to know or that they show interest in. Often the work of their peers inspires them to move on to the next level of work.
- Capstone Projects
Eighth grade students spend an entire year working on a capstone project of their choice that applies the skills that they have learned to a cross-curricular, in-depth project incorporating research, community service, and a public presentation.
Testing is accomplished in the classrooms in different ways depending on the age of the child. The goal is mastery of a concept or material before the child moves to the next sequence of lesson presentations.
1e. Mastery & Transference
- The early materials are self-correcting and provide a "test" of skill within the use of the material. Children experience immediate feedback when a bead is left over or the "pieces" do not fit. They discover their mistake and try again without the need for the teacher's help.
- The third step in each three-period lesson is a test of the knowledge the child has acquired throughout the period of work.
- Standardized testing is given to students in grades 2 though 8. It is a norm-referenced test and serves as a guide for teachers to see what areas of the curriculum need attention. Parents use the information as a benchmark of what skills are strong and which need to be practiced. Students are given the opportunity to practice their test-taking ; however, valuable teaching time is not sacrificed in order to "teach to the test".
With mastery and transference, students demonstrate mastery of one material before moving onto the next. The skills they learned with the first are transferred to and enlarged by the next.
2. Learning ResultsThe expected learning results at Oak Hill Montessori are defined within the context of Montessori curriculum, yet meet MN standards. They form the basis of the educational program for every student. The Oak Hill Montessori curriculum has been aligned with the MN State standards.Practical Life:
- Every lesson has a prerequisite before it can be presented. Because of the clear sequence of lesson presentations, teachers (and oftentimes the students themselves) know when a child is ready for the next level of presentations.
- A test of the level mastery in a student's work is indicated in the transference of the skills, i.e., the use of grammar in writing, the accuracy of arithmetic in mathematics, the skipping of steps in the use of materials. Teachers are trained to intercede when a child needs help or guidance and to stand back from the learning process when the student is successfully progressing.
Oak Hill Montessori students will have the ability and desire to care for themselves, others and their environments. They will do this by developing:
- An awareness of the interdependence of the natural world (including humanity)on local and global levels.
- Their knowledge of the universality of human experience.
- A conscious sense of stewardship toward the environment and the people around them.
- An ability and desire to exercise grace, courtesy and manners that illustrate regard for others.
- An ability to plan, think clearly and methodically and keep thoughts in order.
- The skills necessary for personal independence and practical self-help
Oak Hill Montessori students will have the ability to use their senses to understand their abstract and concrete experiences in the world around them. They will do this by developing their:
- Sense of time and space
- Ability to discern differences and similarities
- Ability to sort, categorize and generalize
- Ability to sense, appreciate and create beauty
Oak Hill Montessori students will be competent in expressing themselves in written and spoken language and competent in their understanding of the written and spoken word of others. They will do this by developing:
Mathematics and Science:
- The ability to express awareness of themselves, others and their environment through written and spoken word
- The ability to recognize and enjoy of the beauty of written and spoken language
- An enriched vocabulary that includes knowledge of descriptors for ideas, objects and actions
- Skills in reading and comprehension across academic disciplines
- An understanding and appreciation for the structure of language
- Verbal and non-verbal interpersonal communication skills
- The ability to use necessary language for problem solving
- Skills in utilizing technology to enhance communication
Oak Hill Montessori students will be skillful in abstraction and reasoning. They will possess the ability to use deductive and inductive methods to solve symbolic and practical problems. They will have a conscious awareness and understanding of the natural world and order. Students will have the ability to recognize and use the basic methods of scientific inquiry. They will do this by developing:
- Skill in problem solving with numbers
- The ability to perform practical and conceptual math
- The ability to practically apply math skills
- Facility in classification and experimentation
- The ability to recognize and use the basic earth, life, chemical and physical science concepts
- Awareness of the role of technology in human history
- Competency in the language of mathematics and the sciences
Oak Hill Montessori students 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. They will do this by developing:
Moral and Character Development:
- Awareness of the history of humanity and social interactions
- The appreciation of the history of a variety of academic disciplines
- An awareness of their own community and culture
- A knowledge of and appreciation for appropriate norms of behavior
- The ability to recognize and acknowledge the purpose and value of human self-expression
- An understanding of human responsibility in the creation of societies throughout the ages
- Awareness and appreciation for diversity of all kinds
Students at Oak Hill Montessori will be secure in themselves, possessing a strong sense of self. They will be capable, responsible and accountable to themselves and to others. They will do this by developing:
- Their own will and ability to act constructively with regard to self and others
- The ability to choose responsibly by visualizing outcomes and accepting consequences
- The ability to appreciate intrinsic motivation and its rewards
- A strong sense of self-worth
- The ability to act empathetically
- The ability to set high standards for self while displaying tolerance for others
- The ability to collaborate and work cooperatively and to give and get constructive criticism
- A knowledge of when and how to give and follow directions
- The ability to reflect and the ability to change based on reflection
- An awareness of and appreciation for the "greater good" as criteria for decision making and problem solving
The outcome of an authentic Montessori education is a self-confident, life long learner with a sense of responsibility to himself, humanity and the natural world. Montessori graduates have the skills to work, collaborate, think critically, problem solve and adapt. Oak Hill Montessori 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.
Oak Hill Montessori graduates are well-prepared for high school and colleges as most of their learning is humanities and the sciences has been project-and-seminar based. The goal of a Montessori education is to help students learn how to learn. In an age where information becomes obsolete quickly, the focus of education must shift from facts to process. Montessori students have been doing this for over a century.
Academic learning intertwined with personal growth and community building results in prepared citizens of the world. Visit the NAMTA website for a study entitled Optimal Developmental Outcomes
- The Social, Moral, Cognitive and Emotional Dimension of Montessori Educations. For additional research into Montessori education methods, visit North American Montessori Teachers Association (NAMTA)
Montessori Research website.