You were on a teacher panel for presentations on video game addiction. You enjoyed seeing each student shine; you enjoyed seeing each senior using his/her learning to impact the world for Christ. As you finish your written evaluations, you wonder, "How can high school teachers better prepare seniors for this culminating event?"
Good question. Here's a suggestion—backwards design each part of the culminating assessment (paper, project, presentation). In other words, develop papers, projects, and presentations for students in grades 6-11 that developmentally prepare students for the senior culminating event.
If seniors are to write a 7-15 page paper in which they use research and a biblical perspective* to analyze and respond to an issue:
- What subject areas should be involved in preparing them for this culminating paper? (How can you help teachers in these subject areas take ownership for preparing students for this culminating paper?)
- What standards should be addressed?
- What types of papers would they need to write in grades 9-11 to make this a truly culminating paper? (What would the prompts look like? What type of research would be involved? How would they use biblical perspective? How many pages would the paper be?)
- What rubrics should be used for evaluating the papers?
- What subject areas should be involved in preparing them for this culminating project? (How can you help teachers in these subject areas take ownership for preparing students for this culminating project?)
- What standards should be addressed?
- What types of projects would they need to create in grades 9-11 to make this a truly culminating project? (What would the prompts look like? What type of research would be involved? How would they use biblical perspective? How big would the project be?)
- What rubrics should be used for evaluating the projects?
- What classes should be involved in preparing them for this culminating paper? (How can you help teachers in these subject areas take ownership for preparing students for this culminating presentation?)
- What standards should be addressed?
- What types of presentations would they need to give in grades 9-11 to make this a truly culminating presentation? (What would the prompts look like? What type of research would be involved? How would they use biblical perspective? How many minutes would the presentation be?)
- What rubrics should be used for evaluating the presentations?
*If seniors are to use a biblical perspective in their papers, projects, and presentations:
- What subject areas should be involved in preparing students to apply a biblical perspective? (How can you help teachers in these subject areas take ownership for preparing students to apply a biblical perspective?)
- What biblical principles (in each subject area) would it be helpful for students to be grounded in by the end of grade 11?
- What skills do students need for researching and applying a biblical perspective? How will students learn these?
Kim wants her students to make connections, including connections between God's world and God's Word. So, at the end of her course, she gives her students the following assessment:
Give a presentation (5-8 min. individual; 8-10 min. group) on something from 2nd semester English class that grabbed your attention in which you demonstrate 3 connections (literature, Bible, life), using your project as support. (Your project is worth about 1 week’s work / 5% of semester grade.)
One way she prepares her students for this assessment is by providing them with a list of the Biblical principles they studied in each unit, the questions they reflected on during the course, and questions about creation-fall-redemption-restoration framework they used. She does this to help her students review what they learned, use what they learned, and avoid prooftexting. Here's what she shared with her students:
Biblical principles we studied in English 10:
1. Meeting Image Bearers: Introduction
- 1.1. Because people are in the image of God (Gen. 1.27; 9.6; Jas. 3.9), we are creative (Gen. 2.19; Gen. 4.21-22; Exod. 35.30-36.1), communicative (Gen. 2.20-24; Exod. 4:10-12; Jer. 1.4-9) truth-seekers.
- 1.2. God charges us with developing the potentials of creation, including language. This is called the Cultural Mandate (Gen. 1.26-28; Ps. 8.5-8; Heb. 2.5-9).
- 1.3. All truth is God’s truth: truth people can deduce from creation (Ps. 19.1-6, Rom. 1.19-20, Rom. 2.14-16) as well as truth God reveals in scripture (Ps. 19.7-11, 2 Tim. 4.16-17).
- 1.4. The Bible is the clearest revelation of God’s truth, the touchstone for all other truth claims (Isa. 8.20; Acts 17.11; 2 Tim. 3.16-17).
3. Disregarding Human Dignity: Night
- 3.1. Because people are made in the image of God (Gen. 1.26-27), every human being is worthy of honor and respect and should not be murdered (Gen. 9.6) or cursed (Jas. 3.9).
- 3.2. Because the Bible tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, we must seek the good of anyone it is within our power to help (Lev. 19.18, Matt. 22.39, Mark 12.31, Luke10.27, Rom.13.9, Gal. 5.14, Jas. 2.8).
5. Weightlifting with Language: Grammar—As a person redeemed by God (John 3.16), you can learn and use different languages (Acts 2.5-12) to serve God and others (Gen. 39-41, 45.7; Acts 7.22; Dan. 1.3-4) by reducing alienation and restoring shalom.
6. Dancing with Language: Poetry
- 6.1. God values poetry: a large part of the Old Testament is poetry. (All of Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Solomon; most of Job and Ecclesiastes; vast portions of the prophetic books. Even the books of law and history contain passages of poetry.)
- 6.2. Poetry can communicate truth. Paul quotes it on several occasions to connect with his audience and support his point (Acts 17.28, 1 Cor. 15.33, Tit. 1.12).
- 6.3. Anything that sounds like truth must be checked against God’s Word—even if it comes from a Christian source (Acts 17.11). The writer of Acts praises the Jews of Berea because everything they heard from Paul about the gospel, they checked against the scriptures to see if it was true.
8. Finding Myself: A Doll's House
- 8.1. Every individual has value (Gen. 1:27, Psa. 139, Matt. 10.31, Luke 12.7, Rom. 12.3-9).
- 8.2. Secure in her worth in God's eyes, the Christian follows Jesus' example of service, humility, submission (I Cor. 10.24, 12.12-26; Mark 10.42-45; Phil. 2.1-11; Eph. 5.21).
- 9.1. Romantic love is a good gift from God when used according to directions (Gen. 2.18-25, Song of Solomon, John 2.1-2, Eph. 5.25-32) but devastating when used otherwise (Dinah, Gen.34; Samson, Judges 12 & 16; Amnon & Tamar, 2 Sam. 13).
- 9.2. The love God intends for a man and woman is a lifetime determination of the will to seek the good of the other person (Gen. 2.20-25, Matt. 19.3-9 [esp. The Message], Mal. 2.13-16, Eph. 5.22-33, I Cor. 13). Are you becoming the type of person capable of this type of determination?
- Who am I?
- Who is my neighbor?
- What’s wrong with the world?
- What is the significance of words?
- What was God’s intention for this thing when He originally created it?
- How has this thing been affected by the Fall? How do humans misuse or abuse it? What difference does Jesus make? What reason is there for hope?
- How can we be involved in God’s work of restoring this to His original intention?
I want my students to understand the words they hear. I want them to understand the song lyrics they hear, especially in terms of the theme and how poetry enhances the theme.
So 2 weeks ago, I asked them to write an essay on the following: “Your task is to write an article for a Christian teen magazine analyzing the poetry and truth of the lyrics of a song of your choice.”
It’s now Friday afternoon. I’m grading those essays. And I’m smiling.
I’m pleased because my students learned how the poetry of a song lyric affects the theme. One student wrote on the reflection that he handed in with his essay, “As a fan…I [previously had]…not noticed the depth of the song…. I myself learned that poems/songs still have deep meaning these days.”
I’m especially pleased because my students used creation-fall-redemption-restoration to critique the theme, for example:
- “The poet may not be aware of it, but the only rescue to a broken situation on Earth is through the hope God provides….”
- “Because of Christ’s act of redemption for us...we are able to forget these past wrongs and move forward; just like Bedingfield’s lyrics say, we have a blank page before us.”
- “The lyrics of Macklemore’s song ‘Wings’ allude to the meaning behind brand-name shoes…. Society continues its attempts at materialistic satisfaction, which can’t restore the broken relationship with God.”
Here are 8 assignments I have had that helped me to understand and apply a Biblical perspective:
- Project: My friend and I wrote a narration mimicking Sophie’s World that explained the Christian ethical system.
- Project: As part of a semester presentation, I had to actually live out the biblical principle I used in my presentation in one specific way.
- Project: In groups, we created posters that analyzed different worldviews’ perspective of a crime.
- Essay: I wrote several papers on different philosophical topics (e.g., souls and free will), explaining and supporting my view.
- Essay: I analyzed a piece of media (first a song and then a movie) to discern its worldview.
- Discussion: My classmates and I watched short video clips of people reacting to different situations (e.g. an unconscious homeless man and a child bride) and then discussed which ethical system each person acted by.
- Debate: My partner and I debated another pair over several topics (e.g., smoking and lying) for two minutes each, being randomly appointed to the pro or con side for each argument.
- Presentation: In a group, we presented on an ethical system, including elements such as a short skit enacting that system and a comparison between that system and Christianity.
- What do you believe and why?
- How will you live out your beliefs?
- What do other people think and why?
- Why do people act in certain ways?
- If you thought in a different way, how would you act?
- How would different perspectives view one event?
- What are the similarities and differences between the way I think and other people think?
S, T, C, and K gave a presentation on human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. When another student asked about their personal application, S said that we can't right now do anything for people in Zimbabwe, but the most important thing is to learn empathy for the people around us. Then we will become people who will someday do something for people across the globe.
M, J, and T gave a presentation on the disregard of women's human dignity. They had started with the introduction to Half the Sky I had available for jigsawing, and each of them researched abuse of women in a given part of the world. They did a great job and were quite informed and passionate.
They had quite a full-orbed biblical perspective, including that the subjugation of women to men was a part of the curse, that the creation story includes the statement that both male and female are equally in God's image, and that the word for helper that women were created to be is also used of God as a help to us—so not necessarily subordinate. They also told their classmates in no uncertain terms that while sexist jokes are funny, in the long run, they communicate that women are inferior and are not appreciated.
Their concrete application, though, was to write "thankful" at the top of their agenda for each day of this past week, to remind themselves to be thankful for all the opportunities they have as females in a developed nation that others don't have. They had a powerful quote about a black man knowing the fear of walking down a dark street in a white neighborhood, and a white man knowing the fear of walking down a dark street in a black neighborhood, but a woman knows the fear of walking down a dark street in any neighborhood, because it is someone else's territory.
C, B, S, and K tackled the tough topic of morality. They ended up saying all humans share a common sense of morality, but we use our frontal and prefrontal cortex to decide to do what we know is right or what will benefit us.
For their personal application they each talked about being metacognitive about that decision-making process in themselves—whether it was S sitting on the train after an exhausting wrestling practice and struggling with whether or not to give up his seat for an old woman who was having problems standing, or C making excuses to himself for why he didn't have to pick up trash he saw on the ground next to the trash can when it was not one of his mornings to be on the job.
A, M, K, and E presented on the topic of taking action—not being a bystander. A had a lovely personal application. She said an old people's home was recently built near her house. Before, she had just complained about the noise of construction and then ignored the new residents when they moved in. But because of this project, she had started saying hi to them when she saw them on the street. And there's one old woman who she always talks to now. M also told about trying to speak up for someone who was being dissed in a group, though she didn't feel terribly effective.
The audience asked questions like, "Does it ever happen that taking action makes things worse?" A asked for clarification, "Do you mean for the person intervening, or for the person being targeted?" Several girls answered about the person intervening that in a fallen world, yes, often it does make things worse. But that shouldn't stop us because it's what God wants us to do.
- "Selfishness, pride, and the desire for power are the driving forces for one to ignore, insult, hurt, and kill others. That is why Christians have been called to carry out the only thing that can rise above these troubles and give hope to life: love."
- "Within my own life I can see myself disregarding others' importance compared to what I want to accomplish and do. The most clear example for me is when friends ask me for help on homework. Some of the time I find myself thinking that as long as I understand it, it's fine; what a waste of time to teach. In these times I am placing myself and my own convenience over someone else's learning. I am stating that they are not worth my time and effort....In his letter to the Philippians Paul clearly states, 'Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves' (New International Version, Phil. 2.3).”
- I’m a second grade language arts teacher who is committed to students writing well. Each year, my students write 1 journal entry.
- I’m a middle school Bible teacher who is committed to students memorizing God’s Word. Each year, my students memorize 2 verses.
- I’m a high school science teacher who is committed to students doing labs. Each year, my students do 2 labs.
What’s your real level of commitment to using assessment to help your students connect what they study and what the Bible teaches? To determine your response, reflect on the following questions:
- How many assessments do you give each year? (Include things like daily work, presentations, projects, essays, and quizzes, and tests.)
- How many of these assessments require students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches?
- What percentage of your assessments requires students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches?
- How committed are you really?
Use assessment to help your students connect what they study and what the Bible teaches. Today.
You prepared your students for this Biblical perspective assessment. You helped them identify themes. You gave them opportunities to analyze how authors use foreshadowing, irony, mood, plot, symbolism, characterization, and setting to communicate themes. You gave direct instruction on relevant Biblical principles and supporting verses, which you then had them apply to the short stories they were reading. And then you had your students write rough drafts, on which you gave feedback.
Earlier this week, you collected final drafts of the essay, used a rubric to score them, and provided written feedback.
Question: How can you use your Biblical perspective assessment data?
If you want your students to better connect what they study and what the Bible teaches, I suggest that you:
- Give your students time in class to read your comments, review their rubric scores, and think about 1 thing they can do to make better connections.
- Review your data and ask yourself, “How can I help my students make better connections?”
Rate each statement below. Use the following scale: 4 Definitely • 3 Usually • 2 Sort of • 1 Rarely
___ My Biblical perspective assessments are standards-based.
___ My assessments require students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches.
___ My Biblical perspective assessments give students opportunities to make choices.
___ My Biblical perspective assessments are rigorous.
___ My Biblical perspective assessments are even worthy to be taught to.
___ My Biblical perspective assessments are student-friendly in terms of vocabulary and length (prompts are 75 words or less).
___ My Biblical perspective assessments are exemplary assessments (SCORES).
Now, ask yourself 4 questions about the data:
- How many 4s, 3s, 2s, and 1s do I have?
- What’s satisfying/unsatisfying about my data?
- What can I do improve my Biblical perspective assessments?
- What will I do?
- I learned that doing devotions can help form my Biblical perspective in both my life and in essays.
- Writing this essay really got me thinking. It scares me that so many people passively disregard human dignity. What's scarier is that I'm one of them.
- I was able to acknowledge and see clearly how we so often do put others down to try to feel better about ourselves, but how that actually has the opposite effect. I re-learned once again that in God alone can we truly know (not only feel) that we are valuable.
- A Christian perspective helps any essay bring its points to a satisfying conclusion.
- I have known the words "human dignity” for really long but never knew what it truly meant till I had to write this essay.
- I learned that we don't have to kill millions of people to disregard human dignity. It happens every day when we gossip or bully.
Kim Essenburg, English 10 teacher at Christian Academy in Japan
Kim Essenburg, English 10 teacher at Christian Academy in Japan
Me: Yeah. What’s up?
You: I just had a great conversation after class with Josh, a senior in my English class. Do you know Josh?
Me: Yes, I do. He’s on the wrestling team, right?
You: Yes. Well, I told him that I really wanted to help him and the other seniors connect what they study and what the Bible teaches. And I asked him what I could do to help.
Me: What’d he say?
You: He looked at me and sat there thinking. I tried another approach that tied into wrestling. He’s on the wrestling team, you know. I asked him, “If I wanted to help you make connections as well as you want to wrestle in the tournament, what would I need to do?”
And he said, “You need to help me connect my life to what we’re studying and what the Bible teaches.”
Me: I can see why you said you just had a good conversation. What do you think about Josh’s emphasis on tying in life experience?
You: I think it’s a good idea. I mean, things make more sense to me when I can make connections to my life. So, I think things would make more sense to my students. I think they’d better understand what they’re studying and what the Bible has to say about what they’re studying.
Me: Makes sense. What are you doing to do?
You: I think I’ll put a “life” component into my next writing assessment. Instead of having my students analyze a designated poem and evaluate it from a Biblical perspective, I’ll have them analyze a favorite song lyric and evaluate it from a Biblical perspective. And if I let them know that they’ll be analyzing a favorite lyric at the end of the unit, they’ll probably pay more attention when we work on literary conventions and so forth. And they’ll probably be more vested in thinking through what the Bible has to say about their favorite lyrics.
Bottom line: Use assessment to require your students to connect what they study, what the Bible teaches, and their lives. Today.
Want to work with your colleagues to better use assessment? If so, then purchase Use Assessment (US$25), a discussion-based kit with 7 sessions.
These 7 sessions will help you…
- Evaluate and improve your use of assessment to help your students connect God’s world and Word.
- Analyze and explain how assessment can help your students connect God’s world and Word.
- Identify and explain what types of assessment can help your students connect God’s world and Word.
- Make one assessment even better.
- Prepare your students for and give an assessment that requires your students to connect God’s world and Word.
- Use your assessment data to help your students connect God’s world and Word.
- Increase your commitment to using assessment to help your students connect God’s world and Word
Download a sample session.
Purchase Use Assessment (US$25). This kit is 1 of a 4-part series:
Joel: I can see why you’re asking that question. I mean, I did say that I want more of my students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches. Assessment is way to get them to make connections. But some of my students already make connections, even though I don’t ask.
Me: So, are you saying your assessments don’t require your students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches?
Joel: I’m saying that some of my students already make connections. Why can’t all my students just do that? Do I really have to require them to make connections on my assessments?
Me: I’m sorry. I’m not sure I got an answer to my question. Do your assessments require your students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches?
Joel: Well, no. My assessments don’t require my students to make those connections. They don’t actually have to make those connections in order to do a good job on my assessments. They could even get an A without making any connections.
Me: You said that you wanted to help your students to make connections and that assessment is a way to do that. What might happen if you developed an assessment that required your students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches?
Joel: I guess more of my students would make connections. I mean, they’d have to if they wanted to do well—and I think my students want to do well. If I required connections in my assessment, I’d probably spend more class time on helping kids make connections. And if I spent more time helping kids make connections, more kids would make connections.
Me: So, what’s next?
Joel: Could you show me some assessment prompts that require students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches?
Me: Sure. Take a look at these 3 prompts:
- Social Studies 6: Teach your classmates about the aspect of ancient Egyptian culture/history you researched. Show what the Bible teaches about it and how it connects to you.
- Science 8: Give a five-minute presentation on a piece of electricity-related technology in which you present the electrical device, the science of how it works, and a response to the following questions: How has this device impacted society? What’s a Biblical perspective of that impact?
- English 10: Compare/contrast how 2 characters from Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country illuminate the Biblical concept of shalom and apply that to a current event or personal situation.
Bottom line: Use assessment to require your students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches. Today.
Rate each statement below. Use the following scale: 4 Strongly Agree • 3 Agree • 2 Disagree • 1 Strongly Disagree
___ My assessments require my students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches.
___ My assessments require my students to connect what they study, what the Bible teaches, and their lives.
___ My Biblical perspective assessments are exemplary assessments.
___ I use my Biblical perspective assessment data to help my students better connect what they study and what the Bible teaches.
___ I am committed to using assessment to help my students connect what they study and what the Bible teaches.
Now, ask yourself 4 questions about the data:
- How many 4s, 3s, 2s, and 1s do I have?
- What excites/concerns me about my data?
- What can I do to more effectively use assessment to help my students connect what they study and what the Bible teaches?
- What will I do?
*Here are additional resources that can help you use assessment to target Biblical perspective:
An 8th grade social studies teacher put this question on a geography quiz. Here’s a student response to “Why is it important to study geography?”
Geography helps us to learn more about where we live, where people around us live, and opens our eyes to where God has placed us. I believe it is very important to study geography especially since we are in a culturally diverse school. Learning geography helps us to build bridges with those around us. It opens ways and opportunities to understand where those around us have come from. It also shows us there is a bigger world out there, not just our own that revolves around school. Studying geography helps us see God's power and helps us through our lives.
The Holocaust memoir Night grabs my 10th graders. Maybe because the narrator is their age when he suffers such horrific cruelty. Maybe because it’s real—my students are face to face with the Fall, with how people can degrade one another.
Then they begin to make connections. To the way South Koreans view North Koreans. To the way laughing at another can make them feel better about themselves. To what the Bible teaches about who people are and how we are to treat them. Here are some of their connections:
- “Whether it is in the form of murder, bullying, or stealing, people are being treated with less dignity than they deserve....as Christians, we must honor one another as created in God's image and love both our neighbors and our oppressors.”
- “People always say that they want to make the world a better place, but they think too big or they don’t think at all or say that’s awful and sit and do nothing. But...one specific thing that I can do is to stop criticizing people...and…‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Mark 12.31, Matt. 22.39).”
I'm just reading 10th grade answers to the last question on the short story test: “What is something significant you learned this unit that you did not have an opportunity yet to demonstrate on this test?” If you're short on time, at least read the first quote.
(The big question for the unit was “How does fiction tell truth?” We explored it by reading Tolstoy’s “How Much Land Does a Man Need?”, Kafka’s “The Bucket Rider,” Camus’s “The Guest,” and Mori Ogai’s “Under Reconstruction.”)
Some student answers had to do with worldviews:
“I learned that it is important to understand others before trying to be understood. In a Christian community, we assume that everyone holds a Christian worldview, and we discuss topics according to that standard. Yet the world is full of nonChristians too. We study non-Christian worldviews so that we may understand people who do not believe in Christianity and may talk effectively to them. We can only give the right defense and impact others if we know what they are thinking.”
“I never knew the Bible actually said enjoy the present moment. That makes me happy that God created things for us to enjoy (without putting them before him). I hadn’t realized that till now. I look forward to better enjoying the moments that God gives me, but making sure I don’t turn it into an idol that I put before God.”
“Through this unit, I learned that all authors, despite their worldviews, show a part of truth (the Fall). Thus, even in a Christian school, it’s good to read stories written by other authors. It puts us into their shoes and can show how bleak the world may seem to them.”
“Through existentialism, I realized I was a bit like that and sometimes wondered about afterlife and life’s meaning. After reading stories like this, I figured out that we need to seek meaning through God and act to what we think is right.”
Define: Get the facts defined.
- Which parts of creation-fall-redemption-restoration do you tend to assess?
- What are your student learning results?
What excites/concerns you about assessing student application of creation-fall-redemption-restoration?
Analyze: Get the facts, feelings, and experiences analyzed.
- How does assessment impact student learning?
- How does assessment impact student application of creation-fall-redemption-restoration?
- How does assessment of student application of creation-fall-redemption-restoration impact your teaching?
- What helps you assess student application of creation-fall-redemption-restoration? What hinders you?
- How can you use assessment to help your students better apply creation-fall-redemption-restoration?
- What will you do?
Here are sample student answers to the final question on my English 10 test on Night, a Holocaust memoir by Elie Wiesel: What else did you learn this unit that you did not have a chance to show on the test?
- “Night changed my view of the sufferings of others and made me realize my sinful nature.”
- “I am blessed. I cannot repeat that enough even to realize it myself. Reading Night shocked me, and it made me realize God’s presence in my life. Now that I am more exposed to this realization, I feel like I want to do more for God and His people.”
- “God does try to help the suffering people by sending his people to help. He uses His people….That means that God could choose me or anybody to help the suffering. All we have to do is be ready to help.”
It’s 8:20 on a Thursday morning, 10 minutes before class begins. Four 10th graders (an Indian, a Japanese, a Korean, and an American) are talking loudly. So loudly that I’m getting distracted from writing my lesson outline on the board. They are discussing (in Japanese) how to say “9:45 a.m.” (in Spanish). There must be a Spanish test today....
I love seeing these diverse students working together. It reminds me that God calls us to have right relationships with Him, others, ourselves, and creation.
Such “right” relationships, of course, don’t always happen. For example, my students sometimes fragment into groups based on language (English, Japanese, or Korean). To encourage my students to value and to have “right” relationships, I had them read Cry, the Beloved Country and focus on God’s peace (shalom). Here’s what they learned:
- “From now on, I will be quick to forgive....”
- “In Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country there are characters from all walks of life—rich, poor, important, and unknown. However, they each do what is in their power to help restore the brokenness around them, and this is a powerful message for us today.”
- “Each person’s actions lay a brick in the bridge we’re trying to build, the bridge we call shalom.”
- “God is the ultimate source of shalom and without Him, nothing can be restored.... Jesus was crucified…to restore shalom, and He is the first Restorer. After He ascended to heaven, who was going to carry on His mission to restore shalom?…Christians.”
What assessment did you give your students?
Kim: I gave them an essay (750-1000 words) on “Who are you spiritually, temperamentally, and culturally, and why is this a significant question to consider?”
What were your assessment results?
Kim: My students did a good job of responding to the prompt. I was encouraged by their essays. They wrote things like:
"Jesus, my model, influences which cultural values I adopt."
“I thank God for His allowing me to live overseas; I see it as a blessing. I think it was His plan all along to reduce the shyness in me by thrusting me out into the unknown so many times.”
"As a human, I am a reflection of God and therefore have value (Gen. 1.27, Matt. 10.31). As a Christian, I am a child of God (Eph. 5.1). These truths are liberating because they mean that I do not need to focus on obtaining value and love—I already have them. Instead, I can work on making others feel valued and loved (I Cor. 10.24)."
"I have a bad habit of comparing myself with others and feeling insecure, but now I realize that God gives each person a precious gift. Knowing this, I began to gain confidence in what I like and am good at doing, such as music and making people feel welcomed."
"Being a student at Christian Academy in Japan has transformed me spiritually. Although my family is not Christian, being in a Christian environment has led me to become a Christian....”
I just finished marking my introductory unit tests. I’m pleased with the results. Students understood the unit’s central idea—that as God’s image bearers, human beings are creative, communicative truth-seekers.
I included a 25-point essay question about the central idea on the 100-point unit test: Discuss the Cultural Mandate and its significance to this unit. Since it was the first test of the year and since I wanted to test their understanding of the central point (and not their writing and thinking skills), I decided to break the essay into 4 short-answer questions:
- What is the Cultural Mandate? (2 points)
- How is it rooted in who humans are as being made in the image of God? (4 points)
- How is it connected to literature as part of creation? (4 points)
- Give 3 examples of authors we read carrying out the Cultural Mandate (15 points).
(1) What is the Cultural Mandate? (2 points)
The Cultural Mandate says, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it.” We are to develop the social world (schools, governments, families, law, etc.) and use what we can from God’s creation to create culture and civilization.
(2) How is it rooted in who humans are as being made in the image of God? (4 points)
Like God, we are creative beings—because we are in His image. Therefore, it is in our nature to desire to create things using our imaginations—and thus develop the various cultures in the world
(3) How is it connected to literature as part of creation? (4 points)
God gave us the gift of language and the ability to read and write. So when authors write, they are doing what God intended—using language to spread their thoughts and ideas throughout the world.
(4) Give 3 examples of authors we read carrying out the Cultural Mandate (15 points).
Confucius’ ideas became a very big part of Chinese culture and have shaped it for 2,000 years. His teachings guide people in how they should live. Confucius used the ability of speaking and sharing his knowledge to influence mass numbers of people.
Allende said she wrote so people would love each other more. This shows her desire to improve the relationships between mankind. Through writing about experiences people may have in common, she hopes to bring people together.
Marquez was called the master of magical realism because he was the first author to use it a lot. In this way, he used his ability to imagine and create something which added to the world’s literature and language.
Question: How can you learn more about using assessment?
Answer: By exploring the following list of 12 questions.
- How does assessment impact student learning?
- What type of assessment can you use?
- What makes a good assessment good?
- How good is your assessment?
- How can you make your assessment even better?
- How proficiently do you want your students to use a Biblical perspective?
- How much practice do your students need?
- What makes a good rubric good?
- How can you use a rubric?
- How can you use assessment data?
- What's your vision for using assessment?
- How committed are you to having your students apply a Biblical perspective to what they learn?
- Videos: Teach and assess Biblical perspective, Biblical perspective assessment helps, Assessment helps students value and get proficient at Biblical perspective,
- Teacher testimonials regarding using assessment
- Self-assessment: To get started with using assessment, take this self-assessment
- Tutorial: Use assessment to help students understand and apply a Biblical perspective
- Use assessment