Standardized testing week at MMS
As the end of the year rapidly approaches, it is once again time for standardized testing at Mountaineer Montessori School. Though not a part of the standard Montessori curriculum, standardized tests are approached as a practical life skill in states that require them. Our own state of West Virginia, for example, mandates testing for our students in grades 1-8.
At MMS, students participate in the Stanford Achievement Test, a nationally-normed test that is more comprehensive than most state assessments.
The formality of standardized tests can seem a little strange to children, so it is important to prepare them for success. Students have been participating in practice testing and learning test taking procedures and strategies to help get them ready for the week ahead.
Please make sure the children are here promptly at 8:00 a.m., as testing cannot begin until all students are present. Also, make sure they are well rested and come to school having had a good breakfast. The children will test in small groups by their grade level. All students will be given ample time to finish the test, with breaks for rest and snacks.
Assessing student progress in a Montessori environment
Standardized testing is just one form of assessment at Mountaineer Montessori, though this type of testing may seem the most familiar due to its emphasis in conventional schooling. We are dedicated to a whole-child approach, and observe the academic development of the child, while also assessing social, emotional, and developmental progress. The core of our assessment is daily teacher observation, interaction, and record-keeping. This daily assessment is shared with parents throughout the year.
In addition to daily teacher observations and interactions, the staff of Mountaineer Montessori School uses the following methods and tools to create an ongoing record of student progress:
* using materials with control of error, where mastery can be confirmed by checking answers independently
* maintaining portfolios of student work
* gathering essays and writing samples
* observing and providing feedback for individual and small group projects
* viewing student research projects and oral presentations
* checking test responses to teacher or student-made tests
* performing frequent screening tests and monitoring progress (i.e., DIBELS)
* evaluating results of the Stanford Achievement Test, 10th Edition
Most students approach the test in a joyful manner, and enjoy the interaction. For any who have anxiety over testing, we reassure the children by reminding them that standardized tests are a tool for making our own instruction more effective, and are aimed at evaluating a group of students, rather than a single child. The answers that they give, even the mistakes, help us spot areas that need further instruction.
And as a reminder, the best test preparation is a good night’s sleep and healthy breakfast!