Day 22: Assess Without a Test (Formative Assessments)

“Test everything; retain what is good.”

1 Thessalonians 5:21

As you read 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator, you may begin to notice that there is an ongoing focus on mastery learning. You set learning objectives and do everything you can to help students meet those goals. If they aren’t reaching the goal, we need to continue to help them get there. An assessment is a check point along the journey. Assessments are partially meant for feedback for students, but also helpful information for you as the teacher to adjust further instruction.

I’m not a fan of using only multiple choice quizzes and tests. If you teach in a Catholic school, you need to assign grades and tests and quizzes are an important way to do this. Tests and quizzes can also be a necessary part of parish religious education programs as well.

The missing piece in many classrooms is that religious educators do not put check-points in place before the students take a test. Thus, they have no idea how well the students will do and once the test is take and returned, it tends to be time to move on to the next topic. Incorrect answers are seen as a performance rather than an opportunity to get better and improve.

Incorporate more opportunities for formative assessment in your teaching. Read Day 22 of 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator for more information and check this list of formative assessments here at The Religion Teacher. There are also a number of examples in The Religion Teacher’s Guide to Lesson Planning.