The Montessori program is not only a unique philosophy offering parents an alternative to the traditional schooling system. The Montessori Method has been demonstrated to improve education outcomes for children in multiple different settings and variables. The following are some examples.
The Riley Institute at Furman University study which was completed in 2017, showed that there is a significant advantage to students in Montessori classrooms over those in traditional classrooms. Read the full report here.
0. Montessori Preschool Elevates and Equalizes Child Outcomes: A Longitudinal Study 2017
This was the most viewed of all of 2017 in Frontiers in Psychology (out of over 2000 articles). The article was also recently covered in US News and World Report and Nursery World.
The final sample included 141 children, 70 in Montessori and 71 in other schools, most of whom were tested 4 times over 3 years, from the first semester to the end of preschool (ages 3-6), on a variety of cognitive and socio-emotional measures. Montessori preschool elevated children's outcomes in several ways. Although not different at the first test point, over time the Montessori children fared better on measures of academic achievement, social understanding, and mastery orientation, and they also reported relatively more liking of scholastic tasks. They also scored higher on executive function when they were 4. In addition to elevating overall performance on these measures, Montessori preschool also equalised outcomes among subgroups that typically have unequal outcomes. First, the difference in academic achievement between lower income Montessori and higher income conventionally schooled children was smaller at each time point, and was not (statistically speaking) significantly different at the end of the study. Second, defying the typical finding that executive function predicts academic achievement, in Montessori classrooms children with lower executive function scored as well on academic achievement as those with higher executive function. This suggests that Montessori preschool has potential to elevate and equalise important outcomes.
1. Lillard, A. & Else-Quest, N. (2006) – Evaluating Montessori Education (Science 313)
This study compared outcomes of 59 children at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin public inner city Montessori school with 53 children who attended traditional schools in the same area. The results indicated that Montessori education leads to children with better social and academic skills. It was published by Angeline Lillard and Nicole Else-Quest in the Sept. 29 2006 issues of the journal Science.
The following summary was reported in The Times (London) September 29, 2006 and is an extract from an article by Alexandra Frean.
Pupils who learn at their own pace in Montessori schools may have an advantage over those in traditional classrooms
By the age of five, children at Montessori schools are better at basic word recognition and mathematics and are more likely to play co-operatively with other children. By the age of 12, they are more creative and better able to resolve social problems.
Academically, they end up in the same place or better as non-Montessori children, but they are much better at getting on in a community.
Among the five year olds, Montessori students not only performed significantly better in maths and English, but were also better able to see the world through others’ eyes and performed better on “executive function”, which is the ability to adapt to change and approaching complex problems.
By the age of twelve, the difference in academic scores between the two groups was less pronounced. The Montessori children, however, wrote more creative essays, selected more positive responses to social dilemmas and reported a more positive sense of community at their school.
Science Vol 3131 29 September 2006
2. Chisnall, N. & Maher, M. (2007) – Montessori Mathematics in Early Childhood Education
The research project examined mathematical concept development in children prior to school entry and indicated Montessori may have a positive impact on children’s numeracy knowledge. The key outcomes were:
Montessori students showed significantly higher achievement regarding backward number word sequence (a precursor to subtraction); early addition and subtraction; and place value concepts.
Indicators that the Montessori system may be offering more opportunities for children to develop higher order skills and concepts in early childhood.
Indicators that Montessori can favourably impact students in low socioeconomic status areas.
Source: Curriculum Matters 3, 6-28.
3. Harris, E. M. (2004) – Evaluation of the reorganization of Northboro Elementary School in Palm Beach County, Florida: a ten year perspective
This was an 11 year case study of one school and the impact that Montessori brought. It examined an at risk elementary school from 1991 to 2002. The school population was 86% African American, 12% Hispanic, and 2% White or mixed race. (98% on lunch program). The community decided on the Montessori magnet program and utilised reading recovery and a parent involvement program. The key outcomes were:
Math scores went from a 28% to a 52% pass rate
Parent involvement tripled.
School community became more diverse.
91% of all six year olds were reading at or above grade level.
Source: Dissertation, Union Institute and University.
4. Dohrmann, K. (2003) – Outcomes for Students in a Montessori Program, A Longitudinal Study of the Experience in the Milwaukee Public Schools Montessori
This study supports the hypothesis that Montessori education has a positive long-term impact. Additionally, it provides an affirmative answer to questions about whether Montessori students will be successful in traditional schools. The key outcomes were:
An association between a Montessori education and superior performance on the Math and Science scales of the ACT and WKCE, for those attending from the approximate ages of three to eleven.
5. Vance, T. L. (2003) – An exploration of the relationship between preschool experience and the acquisition of phonological awareness in kindergarten Comparison of four ECE experiences
This study involved a comparison of four early childhood education programmes. Students attending the Montessori program outscored all others on all tests administered on development of literacy skills and phonological awareness.
Source: Dissertation, George Mason University.
6. Rathunde, K. (2003) – A comparison of Montessori and traditional middle schools: Motivation, quality of experience, and social context
With the help of co-investigator Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Dr. Rathunde compared the experiences and perceptions of middle school students in Montessori and traditional schools using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM). The key outcomes were:
Montessori students reported a significantly better quality of experience in their academic work than did traditional students.
Montessori students perceived their schools as a more positive community for learning, with more opportunities for active, rather than passive, learning.
Source: The NAMTA Journal 283 (Summer, 2003), pages 12-52
7. Reed, M. (2000) – A comparison of the place value understanding of Montessori and non-Montessori elementary school students Maths study
Montessori students consistently outperformed non-Montessori students on “tasks of a more conceptual nature, while performing the same or slightly better on counting and symbolic tasks”.
8. East Dallas Community School
East Dallas Community School offers accredited classroom programs for children ages twelve months through third grade in one of the most under-served communities in Dallas. 68% of students are Hispanic, 9% African American, 19% Anglo, and 4% other ethnicities. 67% of these families were living at or below poverty level and 49% were learning English as a second language. Programme outcomes are as listed:
In 2002, 78% of the school’s third graders applied to Dallas Independent School District’s gifted and talented program. All were accepted.
100% of the public charter school students have passed the high stakes state reading competency tests.
According to a ten year study of standardised test scores (1993-2003), EDCS students' average scores were in the top 36% nationwide in reading and math.
In a neighbourhood where the high school graduation rate is less than 50%, 94% of the third grade alumni have graduated from high school; 88% of those have gone on to college.
In 2005, the school was ranked among the top 6% of charter school districts, and among the top 15% of all public school districts in the State of Texas.
In 2006 and 2007 the school received a Gold Performance acknowledgement from the state for our students' accomplishments in reading.
9. Alfred G. Zanetti School Springfield, Massachusetts Montessori
Until 1999, the school had low-test scores, high absenteeism and a student turnover rate of almost 50% a year. In 1999, the school converted to Montessori. Programme outcomes include:
Assessments all the way down to the youngest classrooms, exhibit a record of success.
Student turnover rate is now (2005) 5%.
Source: Public School Stakes Its Future on the Montessori Way, New York Times, 2nd February 2005.
Success in school and life can be influenced by the outcomes in early childhood. The Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) is a national measure of the progress of early childhood development in Australia. The AEDI is an attempt by the council of Australian governments to measure how children are developing in communities throughout the country. The AEDI collected data on a number of quantitative and qualitative data sets, following physical health and well being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills and communication skills and general knowledge. The study was conducted throughout the country, surveying 261,203 children, making up 97.5% of aged five in Australia.
Montessori Educated children outperformed the national average for five year olds in all developmental domains. The most significant variance between the national average and children educated in the Montessori system were in Language and Cognitive Skills and Communications Skills and General Knowledge. While some controls in such socio-economic advantage must be considered, as the number of developmentally vulnerable children in Montessori was less than the National average, the performance of Montessori education relative to the national average is statistically significant. The study verifies the legitimacy of the Montessori Method for achieving real positive outcomes for children’s education and development.