The greatest burdens placed upon the shoulders of teachers and administrators these days come largely from outside the school. The demand for detailed, quantified assessment drains needed energy and takes focus away from forming students in what is true, good and beautiful.
In this issue of Beyond the Test, we encourage Catholic educators to question some contemporary assumptions and practices that run contrary to the best teaching practices. Mary Pat Donoghue and Michael Van Hecke explain that assessment belongs first and foremost to teachers in the classroom. Elisabeth Sullivan argues that effective testing helps to develop students’ command of language and thought. We Focus On David Szostak of St. Thomas Aquinas Tutorial, who shares how he effectively assesses and fosters his students’ grasp of literature without them knowing they are being tested. Our Featured Resource is Andrew Kern’s talk, “Assessment that Blesses," along with the entire treasury of the Circe Institute’s Media Center.
In other news, the Institute was blessed to contribute to two excellent articles on Catholic classical education recently published by The Heartland Institute and The Catholic World Report, and to the Catholic Curriculum Standards recently published by the Cardinal Newman Society. The Archdiocese of Denver announced the opening of a new classical school, Frassati Catholic Academy, with a nice mention of the Institute's consulting role. The ICLE Reading Room features an article on “Physics, Beauty and the Divine Mind," along with an article by Anthony Esolen entitled, “Classical Education Can Purge a Multitude of Sins."
Mary Pat Donoghue has begun her work as the Institute's new Director of School Services. She capped a very busy summer with a California workshop tour, that featured presentations in San Marcos, Napa, Concord, Ventura and Pasadena. Feel free to contact her if you are interested in learning about our workshops, consultation and various programs.
Mary Pat is also working with high schools interested in becoming testing centers for the new Classical Learning Test for college-bound high school students. The CLT is now accepted by leading Catholic liberal arts colleges, as it is a vast improvement over the Common Core-oriented current standardized tests. Contact Mary Pat if you are interested in learning more about the CLT.
Finally, I would like to invite you to join us for our CIT Webinars, Ancient or Medieval; in November we will discuss debates among the ancient Greeks about the just use of power and a medieval Christian’s use of philosophy as a consolation in time of trial.
We pray that the Lord bless your many efforts on behalf of Catholic education, and ask you to pray for our work, and in a particular way for Board Member, David Stiennon, undergoing strenuous treatment for a very dangerous form of cancer.
Andrew T. Seeley