The so-called Take Home Exam

Ed. note: In the 2012 version, we no longer have a Take Home Exam.

At the top of our list of “things we need to revise in Confirm not Conform,” it’s the Take Home Exam at the end of lesson 12. And the first thing we need to change is to stop calling it an exam!

So the first thing I hope to pass along to you is to make sure EVERYBODY knows—you are not being graded and you will not fail. Sheesh! I was hoping the rest of the program made it clear that we are not about failing people in confirmation, that all of this is about your own exploration of faith. But I’m sure that goes right out the window as soon as people hear the word “exam.”

I actually heard about a parent who completed her child’s “exam” for her—and what’s more, gave the wrong answers! Again, until we get a chance to do a revamp, please assure everyone in the strongest language that this is not something that will determine their future in any way.

I would also like to say up front that we did not do a great job with this particular homework assignment. It’s long, it’s heavy on retention of facts, and it’s in a style that comes out of the blue compared with everything else we have been doing. And, frankly, it’s not particularly well-written or put together. This homework is a prime candidate for a revision based on your needs.

Here are some thoughts on how you can go about changing the take-home exam:
1) Assign this “exam” as something to be done with the mentors.
2) Before sending it home, go through the questions and pick the ones that you think are most important for them to know and assign only those questions.
3) At the end of class, go through the questions together as a class and cross out any that the class (and you) think are unclear, weren’t fully covered, or don’t make sense.
4) Assign teams or individuals to be responsible for different sections of the exam, then have each team or individual share the answers with the class at the next meeting.
5) DON’T ASSIGN IT AT ALL! Perhaps instead ask them to write down ANYTHING they remember from their classes in a stream-of-consciousness style.

And please remember with this and other CnC material, just because it’s printed doesn’t mean you have to do it. As always, the goal is to engage your students in deep and personal reflection of their faith so they can make it their own. We don’t want the take home exam or anything else to be a stumbling block in their way.