In August, 2003, NAMTA completed a two-year study comparing 150 sixth- and eighth-grade Montessori adolescents to 400 sixth- and eighth-grade students attending traditional schools.
Montessori showed higher affect (positive emotions), potency (feeling alert and full of energy), socialization (regarding classmates as friends), and intrinsic motivation (enjoyment and interest) in productive activities. Preliminary results were published in The NAMTA Journal, Summer 2003.
Three articles that describe the results of the NAMTA Montessori Education and Optimal Experience Study (conducted by Kevin Rathunde, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and Annette Haines) are appearing in 2005-06 in nationally acclaimed publications:
Rathunde, K., & Csikszetnmihalyi, M. (2005). Middle school students' motivation and quality of experience: A comparison of Montessori and traditional school environments. American Journal of Education, 111(3), 341-71.
The first publication (May, 2005) was in the 111th Volume of the highly regarded American Journal of Education (AJE). The University of Chicago Press, the largest and one of the oldest of the American university presses, has published AJE for over a hundred years. It describes the journal as a “leading title of educational scholarship” that attempts to “encourage a vigorous dialogue between educational scholars and practitioners.” AJE was recognized by The Serials Librarian (Vol. 39, 2001) as one of the “Journals of the Century in Education,” and it was one of only seven journals profiled under the category of “General Education.” The journal is also a recognized source for researchers and practitioners interested in school improvement and reform. The U.S. Department of Education recommends the American Journal of Education, along with a handful of other journals (e.g., the American Educational Research Journal, Harvard Educational Review) as a source of quality empirical research on school programs and instructional practices (see www.ed.gov/programs/compreform/guidance/index.html, Appendix C, p. 15).
Rathunde, K., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2005). The social context of middle school: Teachers, friends, and activities in Montessori and traditional school environments. Elementary School Journal, 106(1), 59-79.
The second publication was in the Elementary School Journal (ESJ). Like the American Journal of Education, the University of Chicago Press has published ESJ for over a hundred years and The Serials Librarian (Vol. 39, 2001) has recognized ESJ as one of the “Journals of the Century in Education.”
Rathunde, K., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2006). The developing person: An experiential perspective. In R.M. Lerner (Ed.), W. Damon (Series Ed.), Handbook of Child Psychology: Vol.1. Theoretical models of human development (6th ed.). New York: Wiley.
The results of the Montessori Education and Optimal Experience Study are also described in a chapter entitled “The Developing Person: An Experiential Perspective.” The chapter appears in the prestigious 6th edition of the Handbook of Child Psychology – Volume 1, Theories of Human Development, published in March, 2006. Each new edition of the Handbook, published approximately every 8 to 10 years, is recognized as the definitive archival source on the most important theories in the field of human development. Montessori education and the results of the study are discussed in a section of the chapter on flow theory and education.
- North American Montessori Teacher's Association