Students in a Montessori elementary classroom are expected to show mastery of the material which has been presented. This is a cue for both teacher and student that it is time to move on to new material. For example, a student has been independently working on learning the names of states of the USA. He or she has been learning and practicing the names of the states by region. The student will demonstrate mastery in various ways, such as verbally naming the states as he points to each puzzle piece in a puzzle map of the USA. Another student may want to show mastery of skip counting by twos by showing the teacher how he or she can count by two . . . 2 4 6 8 10, etc.
These are just two examples of many opportunities that our students have to show what they know. This is our major way of testing. The time and means of testing are often in the hands of our students.
However, we also realize that state and nationally normed tests are a part of our current educational landscape. By third grade, we will expose our students to such tests, in preparation for future tests they might take. In preparation, we will teach test taking skills, such as evaluating choices in multiple- choice test formats. Developing problem solving skills is a major part of our elementary curriculum that indirectly prepares students for tests, but more importantly, directly prepares our students for life..