When we assess in the religion curriculum it is essential to acknowledge:
(i) Cognitive knowledge and skills
(ii) Affective values and attitudes
Most assessment tasks will focus on the cognitive domain. Assessment in the affective domain is also a necessary part of the learning sequence and can be successfully carried out using the appropriate assessment tools.
Affective learning is demonstrated by behaviours indicating attitudes of awareness, interest, attention, concern and responsibility, ability to listen and respond in interactions with others, and ability to demonstrate those attitudinal characteristics or values which are appropriate to the test situation and the field of study.
Assessment of learning involves processes for the summative assessment of student learning against the identified understanding goals of the activity or at a designated time within the learning sequence.
Assessment for learning at the beginning of a learning sequence informs teachers about the prior learning of their students and their readiness to engage in the learning process. In addition to this initial assessment, assessment for learning can also take place during the learning sequence. This formative assessment helps teachers to monitor student progress and to plan the necessary scaffolding for learning.
Assessment as learning also involves formative processes. It focuses on the student’s personal response to learning as he / she actively engages in critical assessment making connections with prior learnings, making sense of new knowledge, and mastering skills. Assessment as learning encourages self-motivation and self-regulation, and involves students in making value judgements about their learning. In this it is strongly linked with the affective domain of learning.
In the religion curriculum we assess:
• student knowledge and skills in relation to specific indicators.
• the growth of students’ values and attitudes using appropriate assessment activities that are directly linked to clearly defined expectations of learning in the affective domain of learning.
A student’s personal faith is not the subject of assessment or reporting within religious education.
These indicators are brief, specific statements that indicate what kind of knowledge and skills the students are expected to acquire.
They indicate that learning is occurring towards the overarching goal and are:
• easily measured.
• connected to assessment.
Examples of cognitive indicators:
• The student can explain…
• The student can interpret…
• The student can apply…
These indicators deal with the emotional dimension of learning and are:
• identifiable, using particular instruments.
• focussed on attitudes and values.
• associated with long-term learning goals.
• expressed as desirable outcomes.
• demonstrate a sense of value or significance more than just “appreciate”.
Examples of sentence starters for affective indicators:
• The student can justify a personal position on…
• The student can empathise with…
• The student can create ….