The third-years and Upper Elementary students just finished up a week of IOWA basics testing. Although Montessori typically practices a philosophy of no tests and no homework, every year Villa di Maria students choose to participate in some standardized testing. The reasons, how they make it their own, and how they blow off steam afterwards, below.
Each year, Villa di Maria chooses to partake in IOWA basics testing. Lower Elementary Guide Anna Schwind explains a bit about why: “From our perspective, this test gives [children] practice and exposure to the types of standardized tests which they may be taking in the future. It does not necessarily mean one thing or another about them academically.
“For the third years, particularly, IOWA basics constitutes a rite of passage, marking their advance toward the types of work the upper elementary children do. It has gravity and importance, but it does not (and cannot) reflect the fullness of their intellect or ability. This year’s test results may serve as a useful baseline to compare your child’s progress in subsequent years, but has little meaning on its own.”
The testing also provides an opportunity for self-improvement and assessment. For areas where children feel uncomfortable or less confident, this may signal an opportunity for further learning; if the spelling portion of the test was particularly difficult for a child, she may decide that this is an area to focus on moving forward to hone those skills. Overall, many children find the act of testing exciting and new. Filling in bubbles on an answer sheet is something they don’t do very often in a Montessori classroom!
And for others, they feel some pressure or tension. The Upper Elementary students worked to dispel some of that tension by writing down thoughts directly after testing, then adding those thoughts to an ongoing, growing poem in the Elementary hallway.
Many of those thoughts revolve around feeling quite hungry after testing! But no worries; the Upper El children prepared ahead for that. Each afternoon, children prepared the snack for the following testing day. One day they made homemade granola; another (and a favorite) was apple muffins. Below, children make hummus and cut fresh vegetables under Assistant Justin Shepard. The kitchen smelled delicious!
Though testing is over for the school year, some students are eager to get the results, while others are just happy to get back to their regular work routines. Either way, we are so proud of these guys!