Gretzinger noted that the numbers were lower than he’d hoped.

“I wasn’t surprised, but I will say that I certainly would have liked to see higher numbers which were more comparable to the rest of the district,” he said. “That didn’t happen this year, but I do think it will be a few more years before we really see the benefits of the Montessori program at the testing level.”

Gretzinger cited an informal study performed at George Washington that may lend credence to the notion that students who began their education in a traditional setting might need some time after beginning their transition into Montessori before the results can be quantified by standardized tests.

Students in a Montessori Elementary 1 class are generally between the ages of 6-8, which in a traditional setting equates to grades 1-3. The kids on the older end of the spectrum in the Elementary 1 class were given the standardized tests this spring, and one teacher’s younger students also asked to be tested. While Principal Valerie Hannum said it was impossible to give the kids the current test, she did allow the teacher to let them take a previously issued test. According to Gretzinger, the majority of those kids scored at or above standards.

“I’m just so amazed with what these kids are doing at such a young age,” Gretzinger said. “It’s not reflected yet in the older grades, but we need to give them time to get there.”

 

Familiarity gap

The notion that it may take a bit of time for those numbers to correct themselves makes sense, said Erin Castle, co-director of Hawk Meadow Montessori, a private school in the Dutchess County Town of LaGrange. Most Montessori schools in New York are private schools and aren’t subjected to the same standardized testing as those that are part of public school districts, though Hawk Meadow voluntarily administers the state assessments because they believe it’s good to prepare their students for the process for life beyond the school.