A formal assessment asks the question: What do you know or understand? This type of assessment, accomplished in either written or oral forms, models Jesus’ attempts to assess his disciples’ understanding of his teaching and actions. When using quizzes or tests, keep the following in mind:
- Make sure that the items included on your quizzes or tests are consistent with the learning outcomes for your lessons.
- Provide your learners with opportunities for self-assessment. In other words, ask them to express whether or not they feel they comprehend what’s being taught and to identify concepts that they are having difficulty with.
- Provide prompt feedback on quizzes and tests.
- Remember that, in catechesis, assessments are not intended to arrive at a grade but to indicate which concepts (or individuals) need further attention.
Become familiar with ACRE and IFG. ACRE (Assessment of Catechesis/Religious Education), provided by the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), is a formal assessment tool used to assist Catholic schools and religious education programs, as well as dioceses, in evaluating the faith knowledge and attitudes of young people in the following areas:
- Liturgy and Sacraments
- Revelation (Scripture and Faith)
- Morality and Catholic Social Teaching
- Church History
- Prayer/Religious Practices
- Catholic Literacy.
ACRE is designed to be used with young people on three levels: level 1 (fifth grade); level 2 (eighth or ninth grade), and level 3 (11th or 12th grade). ACRE is not used to assess individuals, but rather, to evaluate the effectiveness of a catechetical program as a whole. Each site that uses ACRE receives a group report that includes an analysis of participants’ responses. Individuals who wish to may receive a student report on the faith knowledge section of the assessment.
The IFG (Information for Growth) is a survey that can assist adults in assessing their faith knowledge and spiritual growth. Group reports are also provided, again, to assist the parish in evaluating the effectiveness of adult catechesis.
By using ACRE or IFG, parishes are able to assess the extent to which learners are grasping concepts of our faith tradition and make changes in their curriculum accordingly.
Christ Our Life is the only program that is aligned with the Church’s mission for a New Evangelization, the NCEA: IFG ACRE assessments, and the Six Tasks of Catechesis.