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Religious Heritage

1. Goals or Outcomes

Eighty percent of students will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Recount the biblical text
  • Exegete the text
  • Apply it in a sermon/homily

(Note: Use active verbs to frame the goal you have in mind)

2. Quantitative or qualitative information

Direct Measures

A portfolio should contain the following:

  • Examinations/essays from NT intro and exegesis courses
  • Professor comments on written work
  • Student reflection on professor feedback
  • Video and transcript of sample homily delivered in class (or congregational/adult education/youth ministry setting)
  • Faculty evaluation of the student performance

Indirect Measures

ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire (satisfaction with ability to interpret Scripture)

3. Assessment of the performance

A faculty evaluation team reviews the portfolio and identifies strengths and weaknesses of both the student and the program.

Examples of strengths

Ninety percent of students demonstrate the following:

  1. solid exegetical expertise as demonstrated by their capacity to interpret a particular passage against the background and intentions of the larger text,
  2. good communication/delivery skills, and
  3. ability to illustrate the text with concrete examples in their writing/composition.

Examples of weaknesses

  • Fifty percent of students consistently fail to appreciate the historical context of the biblical text, and/or
  • Fail to make appropriate applications of the text for the intended audience of the sermon/homily, or
  • Fail to address the stage of faith development or context of the audience.

4. Revised goals or activities

Faculty agree that the goals do not need to be changed, but some activities need to be strengthened to address weaknesses that have been "discerned" (the preferred term to "measured" that implies exclusively quantitative means).

Examples of revised goals or activities

  • NT professors will revise syllabi to include more emphasis on historical context.
  • The professor of practical theology will require students to write a homily for three different age groups to ensure a stronger grasp of the stages of faith development.
  • Guest speakers will be brought into the homiletics class who model age appropriate/faith development skills in delivering a homily.

The foregoing are examples of addressing an issue not by adding on to a busy curriculum but by interrogating it to make it more effective. Activities can and should change as the cohort of students changes over time.

The loop is closed when the new activities are implemented and then subsequently evaluated for their effectiveness. Thus, the famous loop is "closed," albeit, temporarily.

ATS staff note that schools adequately address numbers 1 and 2 but are less effective with numbers 3 and 4.