Assessment is an integral part of a Montessori setting and is viewed as a means to support continued learning and development. At MSR we believe that all assessments serve to help us fulfill our Mission, and that the skill sets achieved and knowledge gained in each discipline are all essential milestones along a child's educational journey. They are not the ends in and of themselves but means for our greater goal of guiding our children in their development toward a meaningful adulthood. In a Montessori school, assessment occurs in many ways; to name a few:

  • The Montessori Three Period Lesson:
    • 1: A gift from the guide, "These shapes are congruent."
    • 2: Show me, "Show me the congruent shapes."
    • 3: Recall, "What are these shapes called?"
  • The control of error built into the materials;
  • Isolation of difficulty in lesson sequence that allows the adult and child to assess understanding of complex processes from the ground up;
  • Observation of the child at work and review of the child’s work;
  • Questioning and answering;
  • Verbalizing processes in one's work;
  • Involving children in the assessment of their own work, "What seems to be missing here?";
  • Recalling and applying acquired knowledge to new concepts (consistently done due to the interrelated approach of Montessori);
  • Peer and self-checking/editing of work;
  • Students applying gained knowledge/skills to teach other students;
  • Regular teacher/student conferences for Elementary students, helping them make and own the choices in their educational process;
  • Use of work portfolios;
  • Quizzes and test-like experiences (often referred to as challenges) both teacher and student produced;
  • Project work culminating in presentations, dioramas, class materials, etc.; and
  • Standardized testing.

At MSR, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), a nationally-normed standardized assessment, is given in the spring to students in 2nd through 8th grade students. These assessments provide a snapshot overview of a child's performance in language, reading, and math at the time of testing. Test data is combined with the more comprehensive records and knowledge of the students to inform parents and teachers about a child's academic strengths, areas of challenge, and areas for continued learning and development. Additionally, by analyzing accumulated data looking for trends, these tests assist MSR with identifying areas of strength and relative weakness of our program, affirming what we do well and highlighting areas of potential programmatic growth.