No Grades? How Do HMS Students Measure Up?

Dot EwingNews & Events, News & Events

When our children are born, we have hopes that they will become successful adults. We hope that they are happy, kind, tenacious, and compassionate. We want them to be loved and to find love. We wish for them to be confident, independent and capable. All parents are careful to choose the best educational experience to set their children up for success.

At HMS, we believe that a Montessori education is the best way for students to learn social skills, emotional skills and how to learn. There is a hidden curriculum that promotes critical thinking, executive functioning skills as well as grace and courtesy. We believe that the curriculum of reading, writing and arithmetic in a traditional school is the absolute minimum that children should learn. While traditional schools track reading and math scores, we also measure the character of the student as well as their academics.

Traditional schools are great at grading children on their academic performance. But how do we give a meaningful letter grade for determination and creativity? For kindness? What bubble on what form do we fill in that shows a student’s self-motivation? The children’s work in the prepared Montessori environment create powerful learning, much of which cannot be communicated in the form of grades, grade levels or percentile rankings. Just because we do not give grades through elementary school doesn’t mean we are not tracking and assessing the basics of academics. 

Many parents enroll their child in a Montessori preschool with the expectation that they will go to a “real” school for Kindergarten and up. We implore you to stay. If the goal is for children to be happy, confident, curious young adults that are academic high-achievers, they are already in the right place.

Public school test results can be found online these days. We compared our elementary students with students at surrounding public schools. The following data show the percentage of students that test at or above a proficient reading and math level:

School       Reading           Math

Mt Laurel Elementary76%80%
Chelsea Park Elementary62%62%
Greystone Elementary75%79%
Oak Mountain Elementary67%72%
Inverness Elementary57%57%
Vestavia Hills East Elementary82%87%
Vestavia Hills West Elementary79%81%
Riverchase Elementary66%69%
Green Valley Elementary49%51%
Hilltop Montessori Elementary100%100%

100% of our elementary students tested at or above grade level for math and reading. HMS students also test 100% at or above grade level in language, spelling, science and social science. How far above? 

The median grade equivalent for 2nd graders is 3.4.

The median grade equivalent for 3rd graders is 4.5.

The median grade equivalent for 4th graders is 5.8.

The median grade equivalent for 5th graders is 7.9.

The median grade equivalent for 6th graders is 8.8.

Hilltop Montessori students are high academic achievers. Just as important, students are also learning all of those things we hope for our children: confidence, compassion and courtesy. Waiting for Kindergarten to send your child to a “real” school? We say they are already here.