Student Objectives Review Process
- 1 Policy
- 2 August-September 2011: Staff and students review the student objectives
- 3 April 2010: CAJ's board and headmaster interpret student objective policy
- 4 January-June 2005: Students, parents, staff, and the board collaboratively upgraded the student objectives
- 5 2001-2002: The staff and the board collaboratively upgraded the student objectives as part of the board’s philosophy review
- 6 1998-1999: Students, parents, and staff collaboratively developed our student objectives
- 7 Student Objectives, 1999-2005
Under the direction of the Leadership Team, the student objectives will be reviewed every three years, to coincide with the mid-term and full accreditation visits.
August-September 2011: Staff and students review the student objectives
The initial review of the student objectives was completed by staff in August 2011, after completing the initial analysis of the profile. Staff worked in divisional teams to do some research by reading documents, watching videos, and having discussions in order to respond to key questions:
- What do 21st-Century students want?
- To what extent do our student objectives address the challenges of teaching students from different countries/cultures/ backgrounds?
- What challenges will our students face in the future?
- What competencies should our students possess when they pursue post-secondary education/training and the world of work?
- How do our student objectives compare with these 21st Century educational goals?
Divisional teams then used their research to rate the student objectives in terms of how effectively the student objectives identify what students need to know/be able to do in order to impact the world for Christ in the 21st Century.
- Staff used the following scale: 5=Superbly • 4=Really well • 3=OK • 2=Not very well • 1=Lousy
- The average of the 4 divisional ratings was 3.9 (Really well)
Divisional teams documented their findings in Google Docs. The findings were compiled by the school improvement coordinator, reviewed by the Advisory Council, and published here.
High School Student Council
In September 2011, the high school student council brainstormed answers to key questions:
- What do 21st-Century students want at school?
- What challenges will you face in the future?
- What competencies should CAJ students possess when they pursue college and work?
Next, student council used its brainstorming as a basis for rating the student objectives in terms of how effectively the student objectives identify what students need to know/be able to do in order to impact the world for Christ in the 21st Century:
- Students used the following scale: 5=Superbly • 4=Really well • 3=OK • 2=Not very well • 1=Lousy
- Students gave an overall of 3.5 (Really well / OK).
Leadership Team response
In September of 2011, the Leadership Team assessed the feedback from staff and students on our student objectives. (A group of parents was invited to give input, but was unable to do so before September 23, 2011.)
- Based on overall satisfaction with the student objectives, the Leadership Team decided to retain the current objectives.
- The student objectives will be reviewed every three years.
April 2010: CAJ's board and headmaster interpret student objective policy
The headmaster and Board of Directors developed an interpretation about the student objectives in terms of Policy 2.4.2 (SY 09-10:103). For the purposes of this policy:
- The student objectives are defined as Responsible Learners, Discerning Thinkers, Productive Collaborators, Effective Communicators, and Faithful Caretakers.
- The headmaster may make changes to the bullet points (known as student objective indicators) underneath the student objectives.
January-June 2005: Students, parents, staff, and the board collaboratively upgraded the student objectives
The student objectives were collaboratively revised in response to the following stakeholder input and research:
- A desire to be more Christ-centered, mission-driven, research-based, and results-oriented.
- What CAJ teaching staff have learned through using the student objectives as the basis of our curriculum.
- Input from CAJ students, parents, staff, and board; a former Calvin College professor; and Holland Christian’s curriculum coordinator.
- Research from:
- Christian philosophy of education, which involved discussions with Christian school principals and employees of Christian Schools International (CSI) about their desire to make the vision of Christian education attainable and to move CSI schools from the input model to the input and output model.
- 12 sets of student objectives (Association of Christian Schools International, 4 members of Mission and Christian Overseas School, 3 EARCOS international schools, 3 CSI schools, and the North Central Regional Educational Library)
- Current research, such as Cognitive Coaching: A Foundation for Renaissance Schools, The Adaptive School, and “Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes for the 21st Century” by Principals’ Training
- A set of criteria for developing student objectives (“SMART EQUIPMENT”)
Students, parents, staff, and the board collaborated to upgrade the student objectives:
- First graders, for example, voted 20 to 2 to retain the category “caretakers” instead of changing to “stewards.” Students in grades 4, 6, 7, and 11 confirmed that suggested changes reduced difficult vocabulary; for example, in the original draft, 6th graders identified 6.53 difficult words and in the proposed draft they identified 2.2 difficult words.
- Parents said they preferred placing the distinctively Christian statements at the top of each category, as this emphasizes that we are a Christian school; for example, the “Discerning Thinkers” category lists “Use a biblical perspective” first.
- Staff offered suggestions for changes in category wording and for making the document shorter and user-friendlier; for example, we changed “Generate creative ideas, products, or performances” to “Make creative projects and presentations.”
- The Leadership Team reviewed input, approved revisions, and submitted a proposal to the board to allow the Leadership Team to revise the student objectives.
- The board approved the Leadership Team’s proposal to allow the administration to revise the student objectives, provided these revisions met board policy criteria. The board developed such a policy and used the policy to approve the current student objectives.
- Enhancing the focus on Christ and the Bible through revised category titles (Discerning Thinkers, Faithful Caretakers)
- Emphasizing biblical perspective (for example, see Responsible Learners 1) by putting distinctively Christian objectives at the top of the section
- Using current research/practice (for example, “responsible learners,” which means having students who can learn independently throughout their lives)
- Increasing the readability (for example, see Responsible Learners 4 and Discerning Thinkers 1), thereby making the student objectives more accessible and usable for students
- Reducing duplication (for example, Learners 3 is a subset of Learners 1, and this is reflected in Responsible Learners 2)
2001-2002: The staff and the board collaboratively upgraded the student objectives as part of the board’s philosophy review
The Kaizen Team used staff input to develop proposed revisions, which were then submitted to the board’s Philosophy Review Committee. (Board procedure at this time did not include the involvement of students and parents, so input was limited to staff.)
The Philosophy Review Committee reviewed the proposal, made additional revisions, and submitted a proposal to the board, which was then approved. The administration communicated these changes in a variety of ways, including printed publications.
1998-1999: Students, parents, and staff collaboratively developed our student objectives
Developing our student objectives provided our school community (students, parents, staff, board, and alumni) with an excellent opportunity to work together to deepen our understanding of CAJ’s philosophy statement and its implications for our educational program.
In November and December of 1998, we used input from teaching staff, middle and high school student councils, and from student objective documents from other schools to compile a list of 22 educational goals. Through a survey, students, parents, and staff identified their top 5 goals from the list of 22 goals. The results, published in student and school publications, indicated both shared understanding of goals selected and agreement with goals found in the school philosophy statement.
During January 1999 in-service meetings, the teaching staff reviewed the philosophy statement, concluded that the educational goals in the philosophy statement needed to be made more verifiable, reviewed the results of the educational goals survey, and interacted with student council representatives.
In February 1999, the teaching staff used the philosophy statement and survey results to develop an initial draft of the student objectives. Next, the Kaizen Team (now known as the Mission Achievement Team) used input from students, parents, and alumni to further refine the document. Three different drafts were presented to the teaching staff, and one was adopted for field-testing during the spring, with the understanding that during the spring further school community input would be sought and revisions could be made in June. As a result of field-testing, the document was shortened, made more readable, and mailed to parents in June.