Shay Chapman

Literature Review

This study will investigate differences between Montessori school settings and traditional ones in early childhood and how that may affect later academic success, particularly admission into college.

Montessori Schooling

Some readers may not know what Montessori is or know details, so this section would just briefly elaborate on what Montessori style schools are typically like.

Montessori Teaching Methods and IQ

This section would discuss past studies/evidence that shows a positive correlation between Montessori schooling and IQ.

Cognitive Impacts

There have been past studies comparing cognitive performance of young Montessori children and traditional nursery school children.  Briefly describing these studies would help the reader understand where the proposed study is coming from.

Impact on Later Academic Success

Although the current proposed study is looking at later academic success, past studies have done the same which makes them worth discussing.

Other Effects

Other past studies don’t really fit into the prior headings, so those will be discussed here.



50 children from each school type

Similar socioeconomic backgrounds

Permission from parents/guardians and whoever is in charge of the school



How the proposed study will measure later success: GPA and College Admission Rate

*Something I need to think more on: There’s a lot of time in between early schooling and college. How will I account for that?



*Use future tense

*Be detailed enough that anyone can do it

-Parents will send researchers their child’s grades each semester

-A survey will be made asking participants if he/she was accepted to at least one college and if it is one of his/her first three choices.  



If the results were to find that a certain type of schooling was more beneficial, that would affect parents, teachers, and students.  For the most part, parents want to provide the best possible education for their children. This information could also impact where teachers want to work and how they teach.

Annotated Bibliography 

ADAMS, A. (1970). SELECTED PRINCIPLES AND METHODOLOGY OF MARIA MONTESSORI. Educational Horizons, 48(4), 124-128. Retrieved from

Since the study is examining how early childhood Montessori education impacts later life, understanding what Maria Montessori intended is important.  Although her method covers all the way up until age eighteen, this proposed study will only need the aspects of her method that relates to early childhood.


Ahmadpour, N., & Mujembari, A. K. (2015, October 20). The Impact of Montessori Teaching Method on IQ Levels of 5-Year Old Children. Retrieved from

The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the Montessori approach on the IQ of 5-year old children. To do this, the researchers took a sample of eighty 5-year old children, half Montessori and half traditional.  Raven’s Coloured Progressive Matrices (RMP) test was used to measure participants’ IQ levels. Results showed that the IQ and the level of the 5-year old children educated through the Montessori approach was substantially higher than that of the children educated based on the traditional approach.  This is relevant to the proposed study because IQ is a universally recognized measure of intelligence. Although it is just one study, it does suggest that the Montessori style is beneficial to students. IQ can fluctuate mildly throughout life but overall remains about the same and may have some sort of impact on academic success.


Benavides-Nieto, A., Romero-López, M., Quesada-Conde, A. B., & Corredor, G. A. (2017, March 08). Basic Executive Functions in Early Childhood Education and their Relationship with Social Competence. Retrieved from

The researchers state that it has been found that the increase and improvement of executive functions are linked to the development of social competence. Also, the increase and improvement of social competence and academic achievement have also linked to the development of these functions. The aim of this research is to understand the relationship between executive functions and social competence in children aged five years without abnormal pathologies due to a lack of prior studies. The results indicate that there is a positive relationship between social skills and executive functions. Notably, intervention programs in social competence rarely include executive functions as a key element to be worked on.  This is relevant to the proposed study because both executive functions and social competence are important for an individual to operate in society. Seeing the development of this at a young age could help researchers understand how that impacts later life.


Cox, M. V., & Rowlands, A. (2000). The effect of three different educational approaches on children’s drawing ability: Steiner, Montessori and traditional. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 70(4), 485–503.

This is a study that aimed to view the relationship of educational approach to the child’s drawing ability.  The researchers here studied three different approaches, but the proposed study only needs the information pertaining to Montessori and traditional styles of teaching.  Each child completed three drawings: a free drawing, a scene and an observational drawing. Things like detail, topic of drawing, detail, and organization were judged. Overall, Montessori children were less detailed in their drawings.  This is relevant to the proposed study because it essentially measures certain cognitive skills of students from a particular style of teaching. Additionally, drawing shows how creative a child can be which is an important skill.


Baines, M., & Snortum, J. (1973). A Time-Sampling Analysis of Montessori versus Traditional Classroom Interaction. The Journal of Educational Research, 66(7), 313-316. Retrieved from

Prior to this, I did an article critique on this study. The study was purely observational–no variables were manipulated.  In summary, observers looked at sixty students total–thirty-two first graders and twenty-eight fourth grades. In the traditional public school, subjects were taken from three first grade classes and three fourth grade classes.  In the Montessori school, classrooms are mixed age so four children were considered first grade level and four at the fourth-grade level. Students were “scored” in four basic categories: task involvement, directional source, task group size, and physical movement.  Task involvement refers to whether a student is doing some kind of academic task or administrative task (e.g. taking role). Directional source refers to whether the student receives direction from the teacher, a group receives direction from the teacher, the students direct each other, or the student is working individually.  Task group size could be individual, group, or class-wide. The results found that Montessori students were more task-oriented and were more individualized while traditional students were more involved in group or class-wide tasks. More results can be found in the article. This observational study is relevant to the proposed study because it essentially compares a traditional classroom versus a Montessori classroom.


Dreyer, A. S., & Rigler, D. (1969). Cognitive performance in Montessori and nursery school children. The Journal of Educational Research, 62(9), 411–416.

This study was a “matched pairs” design.  Pairs of children were tested, one from Montessori school and the other from a traditional nursery school–otherwise, they were “matched” in sex, IQ, socioeconomic background etc.  The results found that the nursery school children were more creative on a measure of non-verbal creativity, were more socially oriented, and less task oriented. The Montessori children used significantly more physical characteristics to describe commonplace objects, whereas significantly more functional terms were used by the nursery school children in their descriptions. Montessori children’s drawings had people present significantly less often and geometric forms significantly more often than the nursery school children’s drawings.  This study is relevant for similar reasons to the “effect of three different educational approaches on children’s drawing ability: Steiner, Montessori and traditional” study.


DUMAS, C., & LEFRANC, A. (2012). Early Schooling and Later Outcomes. In Ermisch J., Jäntti M., & Smeeding T. (Eds.), From Parents to Children: The Intergenerational Transmission of Advantage (pp. 164-189). Russell Sage Foundation. Retrieved from

While this reading does not focus on specific teaching styles, it discusses the impact of early childhood education, specifically in France. The authors focused on measuring  the impact of the age of preschool enrollment on later educational success using three variables: grade repetition throughout the individual school career, test scores in secondary school, and final educational attainment.  I have not read through the entire reading, but it is very similar to my proposed study which is why it is relevant.


Hiles, Elizabeth (2018). Parents’ Reasons for Sending Their Child to Montessori Schools. Boston College. Retrieved from

This article examines parents’ reasons for sending their children to Montessori-style school.  The design of the study was a survey-format. The study found that four main reasons motivated parents’ choice of Montessori education: attraction to Montessori principles, perceived fit with the Montessori philosophy or school, anticipated outcomes, and attraction to the Montessori classroom.  This is relevant to the proposed study because in order to understand a school (style) fully, the parents’ views must be taken into account. Parents are almost always essential factors in choosing children’s education.


Kampfen, F., & Maurer, J. (2018, March 31). Does education help “old dogs” learn “new tricks”? The lasting impact of early-life education on technology use among older adults. Retrieved from

The researchers state that “technological progress is often at the heart of improvements in quality of life.”   Therefore, it is important to know how to use and utilize technology throughout life.  The researchers found that it is extremely beneficial to obtain technological knowledge during schooling.  Thus, their findings highlight the likely importance of early-life education for later-life computer and the Internet use and perhaps technology adoption more broadly.  This is relevant to the proposed study because technology is becoming more and more prevalent in education. Technology is almost always a factor now in classroom settings and according to this study, it is essential for all ages.


Lipowsky, F., Stubbe, T. C., Theurur, C., & Faust, G. (2018, February 14). Who is ahead at the end of elementary school? Journal of Educational Science. Retrieved March 23, 2019, from

Technically, this article is entirely in German.  Google automatically translates it, but I’m aware that the translation may have a few errors.  The study does not examine Montessori schools specifically but comparable “BIP” private schools that “promote the development of the talent, intelligence and personality of their students.”  This study investigates the development of the two types of students in mathematics, reading and orthography over a four year period.  There were differences found in the first two years of the study, but at the end of the four year period no significant differences were found between the two groups.  This is relevant to the proposed study because it is somewhat similar. The proposed study is looking at early education and its impact on later academic achievement, but this German study compares two education styles similar to the ones the proposed study would examine.


Mages, W. K. (2018, January 19). Does theatre-in-education promote early childhood development?: The effect of drama on language, perspective-taking, and imagination. Retrieved from

The researcher states that “theatre” education can help young children for later school success.  The researcher examines quantitative assessments of children’s narrative comprehension, narrative production, vocabulary development, false-belief understanding, and imagination skills with a qualitative descriptive analysis of the implementation of a theatre-in-education program to investigate the effect of a preschool TIE (theatre-in-education) program.  The measures used were unable to detect a significant effect of the drama intervention. However, it is noteworthy that the inclusion of a TIE program did not detract from the children’s acquisition of skills that contribute to school readiness; the scores on assessments of language, perspective-taking, and imagination were similar for children in the intervention and comparison conditions. Thus, this study suggests that the inclusion of high-quality theatre arts curricula in early childhood education can provide young children with an engaging preschool drama experience because all involved children showed increased skills in imagination, theory of mind, and language.  This is relevant to the proposed study because extracurricular enrichment is a factor in any style of schooling. What children do in addition to classroom-time is also a huge factor and may impact later life.


Magnuson, K. A., Kelchen, R., Duncan, G. J., Schindler, H. S., Shager, H., & Yoshikawa, H. (2016, March 12). Do the effects of early childhood education programs differ by gender? A meta-analysis. Retrieved from

Prior studies have shown mixed results as to what gender benefits most from early education programs, so these researchers wanted to find a clear answer.  They performed “a meta-analysis” to examine gender differences in the effects of early childhood education programs on children’s cognitive, academic, behavioral, and adult outcomes. Significant and roughly equal impacts for boys and girls on cognitive and achievement measures were found, although there were no significant effects for either gender on child behavior and adult outcomes such as employment and educational attainment. Boys benefited significantly more from these programs than girls on other school outcomes such as grade retention and special education classification.  This is relevant to the proposed study because gender is an inescapable factor that will always impact classroom settings and life in general.


Mofrad, S. (2012, September 01). Opportunity in Early Childhood Education: Improving Interaction and Communication. Retrieved from

The researcher states that early education directly impacts the child’s development. The researcher hopes to find ways to improve preschool experiences for teachers and students in terms of classroom practices, relationships etc.  This is relevant to the proposed study because as the researcher said, early childhood years are formative. If certain things in the classroom positively impact child development then that is important to know.


Ongoren, S., & Turcan, A. I. (2009, March 18). The Effectiveness Of Montessori Education Method In The Acquisition Of Concept Of Geometrical Shapes. Retrieved from

This study examined the effectiveness of Montessori Education on the acquisition of geometrical shapes concepts to 4-5 year-old children in preschool. It has been concluded that the acquisition of geometrical shapes concept of children who received Montessori Education is much more successful than the children who received traditional education.  This proposed study is relevant for similar reasons to many of the other studies–if a certain educational approach accelerates certain processes for children then it may impact later academic success.


White, J. M., Yussen, S. R., & Docherty, E. M. (1976). Performance of Montessori and traditionally schooled nursery children on tasks of seriation, classification, and conservation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 1(4), 356–368.

The researchers of the study hypothesized that the Montessori style of teaching accelerates children’s acquisition of some concrete operational skills. To test this, children were given three Piagetian problems- seriation, classification, and conservation. Half of the subjects were from Montessori schools, and the other half were from traditional nursery settings. Results showed that significantly more Montessori than traditional children seriated and classified objects like concrete thinkers but that there were no differences on the conservation problem. The researchers concluded that overall, the hypothesis was confirmed.  This study is relevant because if a particular schooling style does impact acquisition of concrete operational skills, surely it has the possibility to affect the child’s later academic success. Obviously, more research would have to be done, but any differences in early schooling must be taken into account when analyzing later success.

  1. 2 topics to possibly explore through a proposal process
    1. State-regulated public school education v. private schools on standardized testing
    2. Traditional classroom setting v. Montessori setting in preschool-kindergarten (3-5) effects on early (traditional/public) grade school success
  1. Pick one and find a broad empirical article

Baines, M., & Snortum, J. (1973). A Time-Sampling Analysis of Montessori versus Traditional Classroom Interaction. The Journal of Educational Research, 66(7), 313-316. Retrieved from

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