Coastal Montessori Charter School elementary students do not receive grades such as A, B, C, etc., though middle school students do. Grades, like other external rewards, have little lasting effect on a child’s efforts or achievements at an early age. The Montessori approach nurtures the motivation that comes from within, kindling the child’s natural desire to learn.
Although CMCS teachers don’t assign grades, they closely observe in great detail each student’s progress and readiness to advance to new lessons. We hold family conferences two times a year so parents may see their child’s work, hear the teacher’s assessment and even their child’s self-assessment. An optional third conference in the winter may be requested by a teacher or family.
CMCS is a public school, a proud member of the Georgetown County School District. Public Montessori schools are mandated to administer some of the same standardized tests as other public schools. CMCS administers the following tests:
SC READY (College- and Career-Ready Assessments) – 3rd – 7th graders
SC Ready is a statewide assessment administered to all students in grades three through eight. It includes summative assessments in English language arts and mathematics. SC READY tests are not timed and the tests are administered online (computer-based) or with paper and pencil. Items on SC READY are aligned with the SC College- and Career-Ready Standards.
MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) – 2nd – 7th graders
MAP tests are given twice a year with an optional test in the winter. MAP tests are tools for the teacher. The information they glean from MAP is used to make instructional decisions. MAP scores are shared with parents twice a year at parent-teacher conferences.
CMCS contracts with NWEA, a nonprofit company that administers the test.
PASS (South Carolina’s Palmetto Assessment of State Standards) – administered one time per year in spring to 4th – 8th graders
Individual student PASS score reports are sent home once a year, usually in late September, on the same day as every other school in Georgetown County. PASS scores are released to the director by July 1st. If you would like to know the outcome of your child’s testing you may either phone the director after July 1st or make an appointment to meet with her in person. Print scores are not available until late September, since test scores are embargoed by the state department of education.
2017 online PASS tests are scheduled as follows:
- Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – Social Studies
- Thursday, May 18, 2017 – Science
- Make up days: May 17 Social Studies, May 19 Science.
CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) – administered one time per year in fall to 2nd graders (optional for 3rd – 6th graders)
(The state of SC requires all 2nd grade students to be tested. An online form is used for 3rd – 6th graders opting to retake the CogAT. The form link is shared each year several weeks before testing via the community e-newsletter.
The current definition of “gifted,” is:
Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.
The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) estimates that there are approximately 3 million academically gifted children in grades K-12 in the US – approximately 6% of the student population.
In South Carolina, the CogAT abilities test is the tool used for determining gifted and talented status. The CogAT tests verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and nonverbal reasoning. Click here for a helpful description of the CogAT that includes sample questions from each part of the test.
Although students at Coastal Montessori Charter School are not pulled out for a gifted and talented program, being identified GT does allow CMCS teachers and teaching assistant the opportunity to better understand a child’s academic needs. We pride ourselves on individualizing your child’s education plan and will use the assessment data to make informed instructional decisions.
STAR (South Carolina Performance Tasks Assessment) – is administered one time per year to those 2nd through 6th graders who showed promise on the CogAT test.
This is a secondary assessment to the CogAT that determines identification of gifted and talented students for the highly selective Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP). Once enrolled in the program, students will have the opportunity to access online enrichment opportunities, gain recognition outstanding academic abilities, enjoy publications written specifically for Duke TIP students and submit work for possible publication.
When taking the Performance Tasks Assessment, students participate in a series of lessons. In each lesson, the test administrator presents a skill to the group. Students interact with the test administrator with questions and responses, including a practice problem. Then students work independently on a task that assesses how students process and use the demonstrated skill.