As far as standardized testing goes, I feel that it is not an accurate picture of the individual's aptitude because of a variety of factors including test anxiety, distraction, lack of understanding, and the perimeters of the test. There is so much that standardized testing doesn't tell you about a person's abilities. Standardized testing also puts a limit on what should be learned and by whom. I believe that in order for knowledge to be useful to the individual, there must be some reason to acquire the knowledge (interest in the subject). I believe that individuals are capable of deciding what they need to know about subjects and that the only knowledge truly gained is that which is learned through one's own efforts. These are the things I think of when someone mentions "freedom" -it's not happening in traditional schools. In public schools (largely because of the primary focus on testing), you are told what to learn and when. I believe that in some ways our country indoctrinates the masses to a rather limited world view because of "standardized" learning (Doesn't Bush stress "Accountability"?).
Maria Montessori created a dramatically different learning environment. The individual is responsible for his own behavior, learning and progress.
Here is a quote about testing from A. Lillard's book. She just does an amazing job of in depth analysis of M theories related to current psychological research. This is the chapter summary from Ch. 5: "Extrinsic Rewards and Motivation" pg. 191. I will provide references for the studies mentioned if anyone is interested.
"Research...shows that although expected rewards may work to increased participation in the short run, they serve to demotivate people when the rewards are removed. Children show a steady decrease in intrinsic motivation to learn in school for each year they are in school (Harter, 1981). Furthermore, people report significantly higher levels of psychological well-being and competence when they are engaged in intrinsically rewarding activities (Graef, Csikszentmihalyi, & Gianinno, 1983), but schoolwork becomes significantly less intrinsically rewarding as children age. Viewed in this light, it is no wonder that so many children come to dislike school when it is enacted in the traditional way. Extrinsic rewards not only decrease interest in an activity, they are also associated with less learning and creativity, with decline in prosocial behaviors, and changes in classroom environment and self theories that leave many children unmotivated to learn in school.
Dr. M saw...that extrinsic rewards were not needed to motivate children who were already interested in pursuing school activities, and she saw that adult correction and praise both served to disrupt the self-guiding concentration she considered fundamental to development. She developed a set of materials and a method of learning that could be self-correcting and in which the intrinsic motivation to learn would be expected to stay strong."
Standardized tests are far from being a purposeful and motivating way to learn, rather they are the opposite: they hinder progress, interfere with self-concept and well-being, and limit the individual's possibilities.
|Those who score better grades end up earning better salaries most of the time.
Like Flor, I am also not so concerned with this. Ultimately, I hope my dd will know her self: what her interests, strengths and weakness are. I hope she can persevere through frustration, that she will know the value of practicing a task until she is satisfied with the outcome by her own standards. I hope that she feels compelled to contribute to society in a way that is personally meaningful to her. I do want her to make a good living to provide for herself well and for her family. I believe that M nurtures these qualities.
|Does anybody know of any "unbiased" research done by non-Montessori organizations comparing the academic success of Montessori versus traditional students ?
Also from Dr. Lillard's book: "The recent Milwaukee study of children who were in Milwaukee public Montessori through fifth grade may be the most useful current data on this topic. ...,this study showed that children who had been in M fared as well or better than other children-who were mostly in programs for more gifted students-on standardized tests and in terms of such issues as school absence and delinquency." (pg. 337)
|IMO, the most significant feature of her participation in this Montessori program was her undying enthusiasium for school attendance, and learning. At age 13, she still has her curiosity and sense of discovery, intact. This is the greatest feature of AMI Montessori method.
E.K.Lowi, ITA - a wonderful part of M is the way the materials are designed to lead the child on a path of discoveries. The discovery making process is guided by the Directress but it is controlled and executed by the student. By making her own discoveries, the child is motivated to learn, excited by education, and given a life long gift of knowledge retained. It is deeper learning than what occurs when you are just sitting still all day listening to someone else tell you the facts.