That “one religion test we all take” – Making ACRE Actionable Using PLCs

The following article was contributed by Armando Carvalho, principal at St. Marianne School in Pico Rivera, CA.

How often have you been in this situation? You are sitting in a faculty meeting, and your principal tells you it is time to review ACRE data. You remember: “Oh yes, that one religion test we took last month!” Perhaps your (arch)diocese has a form to fill out that helps you to analyze the results. As you go through the faculty meeting looking at the black and white data you hear your colleagues’ comments that reflect your thoughts:

I know I taught this in 2nd-grade sacraments!

That wasn’t in the textbook!

It’s a vocabulary problem!

30% of our kids think alcohol is a problem at our school? Is there a speakeasy on campus we don’t know about?

Wait, who was the first American born saint?

So what are Catholic educators supposed to make of this annual test? “Making ACRE Actionable Using PLCs” is a workshop that examines this topic. Too often ACRE data is halfheartedly analyzed and more often halfheartedly acted upon. However, with proper action, ACRE data can help guide the religious formation of the students at the school. ACRE is one of the few tools where students can be measured regarding their religious knowledge.

The struggle at most schools is not the analysis of the test, as it is easy to look at the results and gather information. What is more challenging is making the data actionable. All the ACRE data in the world will not do your school much good unless you take action on it. This workshop looks closely at how to make ACRE actionable.

First, one needs to understand what ACRE is, specifically its structure and its content. The biggest surprise to most educators is that ACRE may not be aligned to their textbooks nor their arch/diocesean religion standards in the same way English or math standards would be. This workshop will cover methods to see the alignment of the standards and perform curriculum mapping to align with ACRE (hint: it’s more than just going chapter by chapter in the religion textbook.)

Second, this workshop will examine how to create PLC teams to look at this data. There need to be structures in place so that ACRE data is examined carefully. Once the data is analyzed, it can be put into action using certain structures. For example, it is very easy to have ACRE formative assessments during the school year so that teachers can continually prepare students to shine on the test. Examples of an actual effective PLC for ACRE will be presented at the workshop. Because ACRE at the elementary level covers two grade bands, there is an opportunity for vertical alignment, even at a school that has one class per grade.

Third, the workshop will examine the morality questions of the exam. This exam is one of the few times a school gets to peer into students’ brains and see if their catechetical instruction is effective. We will look at the many opportunities to partner with parents using the data from ACRE. Catholic school students reflect their families as much, or if not more, than their instruction. Scores on the morality portion of the test can be seen as opportunities to catechize not only the students but also the families.

From this workshop, you will discover opportunities to use ACRE data in ways you never thought of before to assist not only students but also the whole school community. In the meantime, please be sure to take a look at the NCEA IFG: ACRE Edition Interpretation Manual.

2018 NCEA New Directions Assessment Conference

June 18-20, 2018
The Inn at Penn, A Hilton Hotel
3600 Sansom Street I Philadelphia, PA 19104
Archdiocese of Philadelphia

The 2018 NCEA New Directions Assessment Conference (Assessment 2018) will provide top level education on how Catholic schools can implement a comprehensive assessment program to monitor student progress and inform decision-making regarding instructional programs. Register today!