There are so many different aspects of school life. In Montessori, so much of what we do is based on freedom, responsibility and choice. It is our most important work to help children prepare themselves to be resilient, curious and excited about learning.
Once a year in the spring, we also help them learn to take a standardized test. Annually, we administer the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) to our students in Grades 3-6. The State of Washington does not require us to test students, however our low-stress approach to standardized testing helps the students get familiar with the process of taking this kind of test.
We know that our students are most likely going to encounter this type of test-taking experience in their futures, and that we need to help them prepare for the eventuality. We approach the testing as a practical life experience; that is, it’s about skill-development and practice. For us, the tests are a tool by which we can understand each student’s standardized test-taking skills and experience. Over the years, we have consistently noticed that the test results validate our own more authentic and relevant academic assessments.
In general, we hope to make the testing experience interesting, relaxed and low-stress for the students. We have observed that the children are excited for ITBS every year, and enjoy sharing the experience with each other. It happened again this week! We are proud of their efforts, the seriousness with which they approached their ITBS work and the way they embrace this as a learning experience.