The Practicing Faith Survey is an online assessment designed to be taken by students twice in their high school career. We suggest using it once in their Freshman year and once in their Junior or Senior year. This allows enough time between instances to work on interventions and see meaningful change. We don’t recommend that students take it more than twice. Using it too frequently risks suggesting differences in the results that might reflect natural short-term shifts in students’ patterns of engagement more than real long-term trends. By comparing data from successive student cohorts near the beginning and end of their high school career you can look for patterns and outliers over time that reveal tendencies characteristic of your school.
You will get the most value out of the aggregated data for your school if the entire cohort takes the assessment. Other patterns are possible, for example, you may wish one particular class to use PFS to gain a smaller sample of data. Yet the more of your students who take the test at once, the more likely it is that the results will reflect overall patterns of faith formation in the school rather than the particular personality profiles of a specific group of students. We recommend that students take the survey at the same time during class but it is perfectly possible for them to take it in their own time as they are all issued with an individual login.
The full bank of PFS questions is not available for you to consult beforehand; this preserves the rigor of the tool. We do, however, recommend that you login and take the survey yourself to see what the experience is like and to view the feedback provided to students. A sample of the kinds of questions asked in the survey is provided here.
Only students see their individual feedback, the school will receive anonymized aggregate data about the profile of the student body in relation to faith formation. We measure this in relation to practices and PFS suggests strategies students may wish to think about further once they have received their individual profile. Teachers are provided with lesson outlines and resources to help introduce and support the PFS process in class.
Please note that the website doesn’t store details about students and once students have viewed their individual feedback and left the site, this is not stored either. The school only receives aggregate data about students. The aggregate results provide a school profile that classroom teachers and administrators can use to measure the impact of teaching and learning on practices of faith in the school and plan future interventions. These results can be used to support strategic conversations about mission or emphases within classroom practice. They can be used for communication with parents, and also for evaluating curriculum and deciding areas to target change. Ideally such conversations will be built into the regular rhythms of whole school assessment.