In Perth, Western Australia, summative assessment has not been a teaching tool in the teaching of religious education courses in the Catholic schools. This study investigated whether the use of formal assessment procedures in the teaching of religion had an effect on student learning outcomes. Subjects were 128 students (4 classes) in year 8 of an urban Catholic high school. The individual class variation in scores was nested in the variation of scores between the experimental and control groups. A multiple choice test was given before and after instruction to measure student knowledge. Students in the experimental group were quizzed on work covered in each teaching module, given feedback from the testing, and motivated to prepare thoroughly for the final test. Posttest results indicate that scores of the experimental group were higher than those of the control (untested) classes. Treatment given the experimental classes does seem to have resulted in significant differences in learning outcomes. Results support the view of G. Rossiter (1981) that a relationship exists between clarity of purpose and learning outcomes. Appendixes present summaries of the posttest results. (Contains two tables, two figures, and seven references.) (SLD)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).