Montessori schools do not usually offer report cards or maintain letter based grading records. Student achievement is assessed through the graduated mastery of material and in the refinement of basic skills over a period time. At Cottonwood School we use a variety of assessment tools to evaluate children and measure their progress. Parent conferences are held twice a year to evaluate a student's progress.
The primary assessment is through TEACHER OBSERVATION. As a skilled and knowledgeable observer of human development and personal behavior, the classroom teacher can assess and record progress through observation.
The teacher then supports her observations with WORK SAMPLES. These items quantify what she is seeing and are collected throughout the year to measure each student’s personal progress over time.
The MONTESSORI MATERIALS have a built in control of error and are readily mastered when a student is proficient. We use the materials to ‘test” each student’s logic, reasoning, problem solving skills, independence and competency at all levels.
Elementary students take a STANDARDIZED TEST each spring which measures grade equivalency across core curriculum areas.
STUDENT NARRATIVES AND PORTFOLIOS allow students to define for others what they are interested in and to articulate what they have learned. We set high expectations through lessons, peer mentoring, rubrics, and materials practice so that students are able to articulate with confidence what their goals are and how they have met them. Student interviews clarify for the adult and the child what has been learned and what is yet to be mastered.
PERFORMANCE BASED ASSESSMENTS are a big part of our interdisciplinary curriculum and project learning. Students are expected to present projects in the cultural subjects as few as four times per year. Presentations are measured by a performance rubric and peer/teacher feedback. Rubrics demonstrate assignment guidelines with clear expectations allowing each student to participate in his own evaluation with purpose and objectivity. Some examples of performance would be managing an experiment in science, a monologue of a historical figure in history, a cooking project from the garden in Environmental Ed, running field games for a younger class in PE, or performing a dramatic recitation for a book report.
Learn about Cottonwood School's Montessori-based curriculum