Montessori schools…and testing (N&R)

Is this what Maria Montessori had in mind? Mixing her philosphy of educating children with standardized one-size-fits-all exams?

I highly doubt it.

Nonetheless, that is what the two public montessori schools in Guilford County are having to deal with.

The privately-owned Greensboro Montessori School is just that…private. It is exempt from EOGs.

The image “http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:-yVYhX6lkp1OmM:http://schoolcenter.gcsnc.com/images/pageitems/37441/p799844141_20496.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. The image “http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:mgnw7eI0nI8VXM:http://www.gcsnc.com/erwin/Erwin.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. But staff at High Point’s Triangle Lake Montessori and Greensboro’s Erwin Montessori School are having to adapt.

Today’s News & Record has a good article on exactly what staff at these two schools are doing to weather the changes, see this excerpt:

Montessori, an Italian who created schools of self-directed learning in 1907, believed students could best demonstrate mastery of subjects through their actions, not a multiple-choice answer sheet.

But third-grade teacher Paige Butler said she believes exposing students at Erwin Montessori to both learning styles gives them the best of both worlds.

“In the real world, they are going to have to know how to be problem solvers and test takers,” Butler said.

Butler and others credit Guilford County’s two public Montessori programs at Erwin and Triangle Lake with providing an affordable way for students with different learning styles to meet state and federal achievement goals.

Guilford County Schools opened the magnets in 2001 and 2003 and decided last year to add Washington Elementary next school year through a federal grant to help raise test scores.

Here’s more:

But most schools have struggled with standardized tests, according to Marie Conti, senior director of school accreditation and member programs with the American Montessori Society. Conti said she believes public Montessori schools will continue to grow if they can prove they can meet testing standards.

“Many educators feel that standardized testing compromises the integrity of the method, but are legally compelled to comply with the requirements,” Conti said.

North Carolina’s nine public Montessori schools have for the most part met state and federal targets over the past five years. Erwin has consistently made federal Adequate Yearly Progress since 2004, while Triangle Lake in High Point made it in 2003 and 2005, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.

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E.C. 🙂

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