Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Quantifying the Catholic Experience at CMH

May 14, 2013

Dear CMH Parents and Community Members,

Since 2008 Catholic Memorial High School has administered, to all juniors, the Assessment of Catholic Religious Education (ACRE) sponsored by the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA). This national, standardized test is used by Catholic schools to assess the success and impact of our Catholic faith catechesis.  Students are assessed on their faith knowledge, beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and practices.  The ACRE also addresses a series of twelve areas that might constitute a student’s perceived concerns for personal well-being, integrity, or safety, both in school and in their general life. 

We welcome these benchmarking opportunities as an objective means of measuring the impact of the CMH Catholic faith formation programs on our students and in planning ongoing improvements such as the Student Growth Plan implemented for the freshman class starting in 2012.

All CMH students, including our non-Catholic students (6%), participate in the ACRE and are required to take four years of theology classes, join in liturgies, and consistently demonstrate the values of a Catholic school community. 

The following are highlights of our growth and progress over the last six years of the assessment:

Academic domains:

·         Between 2009 and 2013, CMH’s overall scores have increased by more than 8%.

·         In 2009 CMH scores exceeded the national average by 4.5%.  In 2013 we exceeded the national average by 13%.

·         CMH exceeds the national average in all eight academic categories – most significantly in the areas of Church History (25%) and Sacraments (17%).

·         Greatest increases are in the areas of Catholic Faith Literacy (14%) and Scripture (12%).

Affective domains (individual belief, behaviors, attitudes and practice of the faith):

·         Fifty percent more students in 2013 indicate they have seriously “thought about becoming a sister, brother, or priest” than did in 2009.

·         Twenty percent more students say, “My friends and I talk about God” and that “Students here really care about each other.”

·         Since 2009 we measured a 10% increase in the commitment of CMH students to the Church’s teachings in the areas of alcohol, drugs, and pre-marital sexuality.

·         Over 80% of CMH students say they belong to “an excellent parish.”

Students’ personal concerns

·         Since CMH started using the ACRE, 20% fewer students express problems in any of the twelve areas of personal concern.

·         While small in raw numbers to begin with, concerns about personal safety and the fear of sexual harassment declined by more than 40%; and fears of physical confrontation and affronts to diversity have declined by more than 30%.

·         Students feeling personally challenged by the influences of drugs or alcohol has declined by nearly 10% in six years of data.

Simply put, CMH has always been a great place where our Catholic identity sets us apart from other schools.  Today, real and consistent data from the ACRE assessment quantifies how well our students absorb knowledge of the Catholic faith, live the faith, and are affirmed in a safe, comforting, and supportive Christian environment. 

Our stellar results on the ACRE assessment are made possible by the CMH faculty, staff, volunteers, and families. I offer   special thanks to Jon Brzeski ‘99, our Director of Campus Ministry and our wonderful Theology faculty: Tony Maas, department chair; Randy Denk; Mary Gentile; Jennifer Eaton; Edwin Rivera; and Nick Narloch.

Join us in celebrating our commitment to build on and attain greater excellence with each passing year.  The best part is that we are exhibiting excellence in the very core of our mission – knowing and living our Catholic faith!

Blessings to all in these last days of the school year. 
Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us!
Our Lady of Memorial, pray for us!

Fr. Paul Hartmann, ‘84

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