My first encounter teaching children was when I spent some time as a missionary brother. It was in that isolated mission house where I was given the task of teaching children some basic English. But picture having many children at one given time from different age groups! So, I formulated a strategy to group the students not based on their age level but based on their language competency by conducting a mini-test or evaluation. After having grouped them accordingly, teaching was then a breeze. Many years later after I went out from the seminary, I found out that I have a gift for teaching. It was then that I started working for a Korean international school. There was no assessment or evaluation whatsoever and this made the job a little bit complicated for the teachers. And so, after numerous attempts lobbying the management, they finally acquiesced to an assessment method which we improved over time. I want to share here a personal assessment method which typically works with Beginner pupils. I prefer using Montessori method whenever I conduct an assessment because it creates a lax environment minus the pressure. An assessment is vital to properly placing the child in the appropriate academic level. I hope this can help you.Cheers! 

Sample Only: Placement Test

Name of Pupil:                         English Name:                   Age:               

(If the pupil does not yet have an English name, please provide one if possible and convenient)

Length of English Study:         

Spoken: Some  Little  None

Reading : Some  Little  None

Written: Some  Little    None

(Circle the appropriate response of the pupil as provided by the administrator)

Instructions for Test Administrator

  1. Children with no, or little English background do not require a test. They are placed in the Montessori English Phonics and the English Primer Program. Lower elementary school age children with no English background do not require a test and should be placed in Montessori ESL Beginner Level. 
  1. To test children that have some spoken English, but are not reading, use the Montessori English Primer teacher props and follow the instructions below. Have the children identify the vocabulary items. Also, elicit complete sentences. Children who respond with ease and fluency should go into Montessori English Primer Lesson 1. Any child who respond with hesitation is a good candidate for Montessori English Phonics. LET US MAKE IT CLEAR THAT WE RECOGNIZE THAT SOME CHILDREN MAY KNOW SOME OF THE TOPICS AND/OR WORDS AND NOT KNOW OTHERS. THIS IS A GRAY AREA. HOWEVER, IF THE CHILD CAN IDENTIFY MOST OF THE MATERIAL AND/WORDS, THEY ARE BETTER SUITED FOR THE Montessori English Primer Lesson 1.
  1. To test for the Montessori English Phonics: begin with testing letter recognition using the letter cards as labeled (they must name the letters as we are not going to ask them the sound the letter makes) follow the instructions below. Pupils who are reading with ease and fluency can go into Montessori English Primer.

For any questions that have the possibility for the pupil to answer using a sentence (in English) such as “This is” or “These are”, ask them in their mother tongue to use the sentences in English.

Additional Comments:


Date:                                   Test Administrator:





Montessori English Primer


Show them the ‘family’ props (Labelled A,B,C,D,E,F). Tell them in their native language that these individuals have a relationship with each other, but don’t say what it is. Lay all the props and put them in view and then, circling the group with your finger, ask the pupil if they know who these are. DO NOT TELL THEM IN ANY LANGUAGE WHO THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS ARE. (Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Grandfather, Cat).

Using the props, first as a group, ask the pupil, “What’s this?” Did the pupil say “This is a family?”        

Yes / No

Using Prop A; ask them in English “who’s this?” Did the pupil say “This is father?”

Yes / No

Using Prop B; ask them is English “Who’s this?” Did the pupil say “This is mother?”

Yes / No

Using Prop C; ask them in English “Who’s this?” Did the pupil say “This is brother?”

Yes / No

Using prop D; ask them in English “Who’s this?” Did the pupil say “This is sister?”

Yes / No

Using prop E; ask them in English “Who’s this?” Did the pupil say “This is grandfather?”           

Yes / No

Using prop F; ask them in English “Who’s this?” Did the pupil say “This is a cat or kitty?”                  

Yes / No

If the pupil indicated the correct answers but could not answer using the sentence; Check here        


Show them the color props (Labelled G, H, I, J, K, L).

Using them first as a group, ask the pupil IN ENGLISH “What color is this?” Did the pupil say “This is red?”

Yes / No

Using prop G; ask them “What color is this?” Did the pupil say “This is blue?”

Yes / No

If you want to know more about my Montessori English Primer and Montessori English Phonics, feel free to message me. 

See yah around!

Sensei Albert