Over the past decade there has been emerging interest in social intelligence, emotional intelligence, and executive functioning skills—often described as "soft skills." This has led to a variety of prominent research efforts to develop ways to measure these skills. The Post Oak School has assumed a leadership position among Montessori schools and is currently involved in a number of research projects to investigate executive function. The various research projects provide the hard data to support Post Oak’s strength in developing these qualities and provide us with quantifiable evidence of the benefits of a Post Oak education.
High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE). We participated for the third time in 2015. This survey is benchmarked against a self-selected group of private schools and public schools. Results from our first administration demonstrated a significant “Post Oak difference.” (cf Post Oak Annual Report 2013). Post Oak is taking the lead in encouraging other Montessori high schools to participate so that we can develop Montessori data in addition to data for The Post Oak School as a singular school.
Mission Skills Assessment (MSA)—a joint project of Educational Testing Service (ETS) and INDEX (Independent School Data Exchange). INDEX is a group of conventional prep schools that has partnered with ETS, the testing service that develops and administers the SAT college admission test. Over a five-year period they developed MSA to measure non-cognitive skills: teamwork, creativity, ethics, resilience, curiosity, and time management. Why? “After decades of study, researchers have proven that non-cognitive skills and attributes are just as important as cognitive skills in determining academic and life success.”
Post Oak first participated in this research project in 2014 and our students scored near the top in the measures of curiosity and creativity, and in the top half on the other four measures.
Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) study of twenty-first century skills. Graduate researchers from BCM utilized standardized measurements of twenty-first century skills to compare Post Oak students in grades 6 through 10 against norm groups. Post Oak students scored significantly higher in measures of curiosity, self-control, intrinsic motivation, and love of challenge.
AMI Global Research. AMI is working to roll out its own research on soft skills. It also recognizes this area as a ‘differentiator.’ High School Director James Moudry has joined this team, led by Dr. Steven Hughes.
Student Culture Survey. For the past three years, Post Oak students in Upper Elementary, Middle School, and High School have participated in ISM’s Student Culture Survey. The results are analyzed internally by academic leadership and faculty as we continually focus on the culture we create here at the school.
USA Montessori Census. We are currently witnessing a surge of interest in early learning. For the first time since the early 1960s policymakers, researchers, and families are all focused on processes, outcomes, and return on investments in early childhood education. As this interest continues to grow, Montessori education is also capturing the attention of those same audiences; prompting an urgent need for accurate, complete and up-to-date information about the state of Montessori schooling in the United Sates. Post Oak is a participant in the USA Montessori Census, which is being managed as a collaborative effort of the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS) and The Center for Research on Developmental Education (CRDE).
Science The Early Years: Evaluating Montessori Education
Tough Choices or Tough Times:
The Journal of North American Montessori Teachers Association