How Do We Know If We’re Teaching Effectively? Authentic Assessment in Faith Formation

When I speak at catechetical conferences, I try to sit in on other speakers’ presentations to learn and to see what’s hot and what’s not in the world of catechesis. I usually try to be a fly on the wall, but occasionally I feel compelled to ask a question. Once, I unwittingly and unintentionally brought a workshop to a screeching halt by doing just that! The presenter was a prominent figure in the world of catechesis […]

Reuse and Review at the End of the Faith Formation Year

As I approached the last faith formation class of the year, I was looking for ways to review the material we had covered during our time together. In the past I’ve used some kind of game or competition as a review activity. But with this being my first year teaching fourth grade, I wasn’t sure if these activities would work well with this older group of students. When I was preparing for our final class, […]

The Measure of Success

By what yardstick do we measure the success of teaching the faith to the children with whom we’ve been entrusted? I asked myself this question as I prepared my last two classes of the year. I may be tempted to use an objective measure, such as a minimum percent-correct score on the unit review. I may be tempted to use a more subjective measure, such as gauging how much the children were entertained. I’ve come to […]

Reaching Out to the Lost Sheep – Assessment and Redemption

I have long been an advocate of assessment in catechesis. At the same time, I have always made it clear that assessment in catechesis is to be used as a tool to address needs (both individual and corporate) and to address deficiencies in the catechetical program. I don’t advocate using assessments to assign report card grades to kids in religious education and certainly not to determine if they are to “pass or fail” or to […]

Final Assessment Results

So last evening, I conducted a Jeopardy-like review with my 6th graders and then followed it up with a final assessment. Here’s a summary: As part of our opening prayer, we included prayers for all those affected by the bombings in Boston. It is lamentable that, in the course of several months, we catechists have had to talk to our young people about the Newtown tragedy and now this. Let’s pray for an end to […]

End of the Year Assessment

This coming Monday, I will do a formal assessment to see to what extent my 6th graders have grasped the BIG ideas I attempted to teach them this year in religious education! First, we will do a Jeopardy-like review using a Powerpoint version of the game that I found online a couple of years ago. You can manipulate this according to your own needs, changing categories, questions, and answers and hyperlinking from the “game board” […]

End of the Year 4th Grade Assessment

Tonight, I’ll be giving my 4th graders their “end of the year” assessment, as I mentioned last week. Before I do so, I’ll spend some time reviewing some of the major categories of learning from this year: the 7 Sacraments, Parts of the Mass, and the Ten Commandments. I plan to do so using lots of half sheets of paper, markers, masking tape, and the chalk boards. For the Seven Sacraments, I’ll tape 7 blank […]

4th Grade Assessment

It’s hard to believe that I only have 2 more classes left (plus a closing session with a prayer service) this year! With that in mind, it’s time for a review and a final formal assessment. With my DRE’s approval, I’ve put together the following assessment which covers the major ideas that we focused on this year, especially the 7 Sacraments and the 10 Commandments. 4th Grade Assessment 4th Grade Assessment answer key Before giving […]

Successful Assessment

I was very pleased with the results of the Confirmation exam given last night! This was the best that my students have done in recent years. First, I had provided the young people with a study sheet 2 weeks ago, telling them precisely what would be included on the exam. I believe this made a big difference because some of them actually studied! One young man (who has a minor learning disability and has a […]

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