What is taught in the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Santa Rosa—curriculum—begins in the Catholic Faith. Students study and experience the beliefs, teachings, and practices that pertain to Catholicism, a compendium of which can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The religious dimension of the overall curriculum also contains information about other denominational entities. The cultural dimension of the curriculum embraces all the other subjects—English, mathematics, science, social studies, languages, the arts, and physical education. There are professionally acceptable standards that constitute/frame the contents of these subjects. In sum, the overall school curriculum contains the truths that are established by human reason and by faith.
How the curriculum is taught—instruction—takes many forms in our schools, so as to engage students in both time-tested and 21st century learning practices. ‘Instruction’ has to do with the methods and means of student learning—such things as note-taking and memorization, internet searches and power point presentations, writing and re-writing, ipads and kindles, self-directed work and group projects, experiments and demonstrations, and more. The teachers in our schools are skilled instructors—delivering, diversifying and adapting methods in order to engender student learning.
Gauging what is learned—assessment—signifies that there is accountability in education. As with instruction, the forms of assessment are varied: quizzes and tests, essays, reports, demonstrations of skills, the accomplishment of projects. Any number of these assessments are used by teachers to measure student progress in any given course. There are also standardized assessments, which are broad-scale tests by which student achievement is seen in relationship to benchmarks (i.e., a percentage correct score or a peer comparison percentile). These assessments include, for example, Iowa Assessments for elementary school students and SATs and ACTs for high school students. As professional persons, teachers are competent at assisting students and parents to understand the significance of assessments—localized and standardized—as well as the results that are gleaned from them.