How can you design assessments so that your students connect a Biblical perspective with their lives?
You think: “I want my students to apply a Biblical perspective to what they study. That’s a big challenge. This is school, so isn’t getting students to apply a Biblical perspective to what they study good enough? I don’t know that I’m up to helping kids connect Biblical perspective, course content, and their lives. But come to think of it, when I’ve done this, kids come alive. I wonder what I can do.”
Your goal: You want your students to increase their understanding and application of a Biblical perspective. (You recognize that the more your students connect a Biblical perspective, course content, and their lives, the more likely they are to get it.)
Your reality: You decide to take a good look at your current practice. You start by looking at 5 of your assessment prompts, figuring that this is a good way to gauge how often you have students connect Biblical perspective, course content, and their lives. You notice that your assessment prompts require students to connect Biblical perspective to course content, but not to their lives.
So, you talk to colleagues about adding “life” to your assessment prompts, and they share some of their assessment prompts. You read the prompts, highlighting the “life” sections:
English 10 (750-word essay): How significant a part of what’s wrong with the world is the tendency to disregard the human dignity of others, and how should a Christian respond? Illustrate your answer from literature, history, current events, and your own experience. Be sure to address the relevance of the Biblical concepts of the image of God and the second greatest commandment.
Science 9: Use three carbon footprint calculators to estimate your family’s and your greenhouse gas emissions and compare your results with national averages. In the context of using your learning to care for God’s creation, identify three ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Next, make a poster that shows what you learned, including your calculations for greenhouse gas emissions, a graph of your personal footprint, a written explanation of a Biblical perspective on why Christians should be concerned about the size of their carbon footprint, and three or more steps you are taking or could take to reduce the size of your carbon footprint.
You think: I can do that. I can add “life” to my assessment prompts. Then, if I teach to my prompts, students will have practice connecting Biblical perspective, course content, and their lives—during lessons and on assessments!
Question: In a given unit, what part of your students’ lives can you ask them to apply a Biblical perspective to?
- Co-curricular activities
- Current events
- Life experiences
- Life goals
- School issues
- Other: ______________________________
Here are 3 possible action steps:
- Modify an existing assessment prompt so that it
requires your students to connect Biblical
perspective, course content, and their lives.
- Modify your unit content map so that it
includes the content and skills your students need
in order to do your assessment.
- Prepare your students for the assessment by teaching the revised unit content/skills.
Teachers, to what extent does this describe your thinking? Principals, to what extent does this describe your teachers’ thinking?
To really get this, I need to connect the Bible with my life, not just with what I teach in class. If I could connect the Bible with my daily life, I think I could get a better handle on teaching from a Biblical perspective. I read about current events, and I’m not always sure how the Bible applies.
If the above describes your thinking or the thinking of your staff, what are 5 things you could do to connect the Bible with your life? Pick one and implement it. Today.