Assessment in Christian Schools: How can we determine whether we are accomplishing what we said we would do?

It is important that we work continuously at carefully examining each of our schools and ask, “In what way does this Christian school grow out of the vision we hold for our children’s lives today?” Ideally, schools do so in at least three ways:

A. By conserving and passing on our worldview and our beliefs;

B. By helping students discern the spirit of our times, testing all things and holding to what is good;

C. And by holding forth a vision of a new and better world which is God’s kingdom on earth, helping students learn ways in which the tradition it is conserving leads to making this world a better place.

Are Christian schools needed? Research organizations say that we live in a time in which Christians talk easily about their faith but exhibit high levels of ignorance of what the Bible actually teaches. And this is true of Christians who go to church, also. Young adults in most countries are searching for spirituality and finding non-Christian spirituality more compelling than ever, in part because it is so enticingly presented through popular culture.

If you are going to assess your own Christian school, what exactly would you assess? And how will you go about assessing the extent to which you are accomplishing each of these? The following are some goals for a school. In each case it is important that teachers talk together to determine how to assess whether each goal has been met.

A. In this Christian school students achieve an academic standard that is appropriate for their ability and that will allow them to live and work well in our country and in our world. Means of assessment?

B. In this Christian school students come to know Bible stories from the Old Testament and New Testament. They learn the teachings of Jesus Christ so that they can live in obedience to those teachings. Means of assessment?

C. In this Christian school each student learns to develop the abilities God has given to her or him. Means of assessment?

D. In this Christian school teachers work together to plan curriculum and discussions that help students develop Christian character and morals. Means of assessment?

E. In this Christian school the principal or head person arranges for frequent sessions in which teachers continue to learn more about instruction that helps students develop an integral, Christian view of life and reality. The teachers introduce worldview questions in ways that help students learn the tendency to ask and search for answers within a framework that incorporates every area of life. Means of assessment?

F. In this Christian school students learn to recognize and become outraged by injustice in any form. They learn to take action against injustice in ways that are appropriate for disciples of Jesus Christ and also appropriate to their developmental level. Means of assessment?

G. In this Christian school teachers help students come to know that we live in an inter-dependent, inter-connected world. Means of assessment?

H. In this Christian school students learn to think about their own learning, to assess their learning, and to evaluate how they can be better at learning because they are responsible disciples of Jesus Christ. Means of assessment?

I. In this Christian school students learn that people of every race and every culture image God. And students learn what it is to image God. Means of assessment?

J. And the most important: In this Christian school students learn how to tell others about God and about the saving grace of Jesus Christ in ways that will encourage others to want to be part of God’s community of Christians here on earth. Means of assessment?

For Discussion:

1. List the things that you believe your Christian school should assess.

2. Describe how you might go about assessing each matter you listed.


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