Test Scores: ACRE & MAP
The Assessment of Children Religious Education
Many Catholic schools nationwide have their students in grades 5, 8, and 11 take an annual test - the ACRE - Assessment of Children Religious Education. This assessment is designed to assist in the evaluation of religious education programs in Catholic schools and parishes. Schools and parish faith formation programs see the ACRE as a tool that asks students both faith knowledge questions and questions related to religious beliefs, attitudes, practices, and perceptions, and then uses the results to help make improvements not only to our religion curriculum but also to our teaching strategies and how we deliver the curriculum. Furthermore, ACRE data can shed light on elements that are not the exclusive domain of the school’s curriculum or instruction, such as physically getting children to attend Sunday Liturgy.
The Seattle Archdiocese has asked every Catholic elementary school in Western Washington to implement the ACRE in grades 5 and 8. St. Louise started using this test in 2017. It’s a brief assessment that students complete in about an hour. Group results are shared with our entire school community. Our 2018 results may be found in the document below.
The ACRE carries the endorsement of the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) and is based upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The ACRE is also connected with the Six Tasks of Catechesis. You may find out more about both of these here on the Seattle Archdiocesan website. Below is some more detail on how our teachers connect the Catholic Catechism to their job of Catholic school religion teacher. And when the ACRE results come back annually, we see in which areas we may be falling short and will have to address weaknesses in our curriculum and/or our instruction.
1) Knowledge of the Faith
Teaching knowledge of the faith means sharing the truths of salvation history through Scripture and creed. It is knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus. We strive to develop faith literacy and understanding in our students. It’s important to sustain the interest of the students to participate in ongoing faith formation and become active evangelizers.
2) Liturgical Education
Teaching liturgy is presenting the seven sacraments, the rituals, signs and symbols that connect the acts of Jesus to our lives. Teachers should desire to teach in a way that motivates students to have a close relationship with God. Making the study of the sacraments seem fresh and new for learners is a goal of all good religion teachers.
Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and humankind – one that connects us to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Catholic school teachers not only want to help their students understand that covenant relationship, but teachers want to develop their our own prayer life so they can share it with their students.
4) Moral Formation
Teaching moral formation is encouraging children to live like Jesus and make decisions in the light of His moral teaching. Catholic educators are also called to offer support to parents as they develop their families’ moral compasses. Forming children in moral decision making is a key element of being a Catholic school teacher.
5) Community Life
Teaching community is helping children understand that they are apprentices in Christian living every day. Teachers strive to engage students to see the importance of Christian community life. Thus, our school has activities for students in which we build community life.
6) Teaching Missions
Teaching missions means making children understand Christ’s call to go out and spread the good news. We address missionary discipleship in our teaching, and one of our objectives is for the children to understand that by baptism we are called to be missionaries.
St. Louise School students in grades 2-8 take the MAP Growth tests each fall and spring. MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) is a computer adaptive test that students take nationwide, including students from most of the Catholic elementary schools in the Seattle Archdiocese. St. Louise gives our students the MAP test in September and again in May. Each class spends approximately 60 minutes per each of the three tests over a three-day period taking these tests on computers.
MAP is a computer adaptive test, which means it adjusts to each student’s learning level, providing a unique set of test questions based on their responses to previous questions. As the student responds to questions, the test responds to the student, adjusting up or down in difficulty. MAP Growth is used to measure a student’s performance level at different times of the school year and compute their academic growth. The results provide teachers with information to help them deliver appropriate content for each student and determine each student’s academic growth over time. For more information on the MAP test, visit https://www.nwea.org/map-growth/.
The three content areas we test through MAP Growth are math, reading, and language-usage (grammar and writing). Teachers can see the progress of individual students and of their class as a whole in these areas. Since students with similar MAP scores are generally ready for instruction in similar skills and topics, it makes it easier for teachers to plan instruction. MAP also provides typical growth data for students who are in the same grade, subject, and have the same starting performance level. This data is often used to help students set goals and understand what they need to learn to achieve their goals.
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If you have questions about the ACRE or MAP, please ask the principal, Dan Fitzpatrick, or vice-principal, Mike Fuerte.