Me: Yes or No—Do your assessments require your students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

Joel: I teach 8th grade, so seeing the Science 8 assessment prompt helps. Putting in something that requires students to make connections doesn't look that difficult. The Science 8 teacher put in "What's a Biblical perspective of that impact?" I think I could do something like that. And I think that if I require my students to make connections, I'll make progress toward my goal of having my students connect what they study and what the Bible teaches.

Bottom line: Use assessment to require your students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches. Today.

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