Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Aug 26, 2022 / 17:00 pm (CNA).
The National Catholic Register reported this month that one Catholic school’s decision to begin every day with Mass has transformed the spiritual lives of both students and the broader parish community – and soared the school to second place among 30 diocesan schools that took a catechesis assessment test.
One of the Church’s biggest struggles in recent years has been the problem of inadequate catechesis, for children and adults alike.
The problem of poorly catechized Catholics is evident in recent polls. An EWTN/Real Clear Opinion Research poll conducted this July, for example, showed that 38% of Catholic likely voters do not believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist. The same poll also found that 35% never go to confession – a sacrament required by Church law at least annually.
Overall, the poll found that only 20% of Catholics accept all Church teachings.
Identifying and solving the problem of catechesis
The Assessment of Religious Knowledge, or the ARK test, is meant to be a step forward in remedying the catechesis problem in K-12 schools.
Developed by the Sophia Institute – a Catholic non-profit dedicated to serving Catholic education and teachers – the ARK tool helps measure the effectiveness of religious education programs in parishes and schools across the country.
It does this through a survey that faculty, catechists, and students take, split up by grade. Each test includes questions about knowledge and belief and behaviors that cover six categories: Sacraments & Liturgy; The Creed & Salvation History; Morality; Prayer; Virtue; and Living Discipleship.
After the assessment is completed, the platform allows school administrators and faculty to see important results about the religious formation of their students and faculty. This includes problem areas so that schools can identify and start to bridge gaps in their religious education programs.
Rob Kenney, the Executive Director of ARK, said in a statement to CNA that the tool “helps schools and parishes easily identify successes and opportunities for both students and faculty, review individual knowledge growth, and compare against national averages.”
More than an assessment
But it’s not just only about the children, Kenney explained: “We also recognize the importance of forming the teacher, so ARK helps guide professional development at an individual, school and parish, or even diocese level.”
ARK also offers teachers free, curated resources based on their school’s results to supplement teachers’ own learning and supply free resources for their class.
Kenney sees the ARK test as more than an assessment tool, but a part of a broader evangelization effort.
“All this ties into engaging in continuous improvement for religious education that will help all of us not only know more, but also have a greater love for our faith; and best of all, help direct us toward Heaven,” he said.
With the help of ARK, CNA put together a sample version of the assessment so that you can test your own knowledge. Take the quiz below.
How well do you know your catechesis? Take the ARK test for 8th graders.
What is conscience?
- God’s voice in our hearts
- Moral feelings which form to support cultural customs
- The source of the moral law for every individual
- The urge for self-preservation
Which is a reason a person should not receive Communion at Mass?
- They have committed venial sins
- They have unconfessed mortal sins
- They have fasted for an hour beforehand
- They felt distracted during the homily
Who knows when the Last Judgment will occur?
- The pope
- The angels
- God the Father
- None of these.
Which of the following people should receive Anointing of the Sick?
- A person who has been sick with a sinus infection for over a month
- An elderly person facing a grave illness
- A college student who is feeling homesick
- A person who has recovered from a life-threatening virus
St. Paul wrote an epistle to the churches in all the following places EXCEPT:
Which of the following is a capital sin?
Which of the following is a sacrament of healing?
- Holy Orders
Who is called to chastity?
- Priests and religious
- Married people
- Single people
- All of these
Correct answers: Conscience 1; Communion 2; Last Judgement 3; Anointing of the Sick 2; Paul 3; capital sin 1; sacrament of healing 1; chastity 4.
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