How to Evaluate Sunday School Curriculum by J. Dan Boulton
Determining what curriculum to use is an important decision for any church. The ramifications of what is selected have a direct impact on the scope and sequence of the Bible teaching at the church. It also has implications for students, teachers and families. The purpose of the following information is to provide tested guidelines to give assistance in making an objective decision.
BEFORE YOU EVALUATE
As with so many things, how you start and what questions you ask will greatly determine where you end
- As you begin the process of evaluating, prayerfully consider forming an evaluation committee (EC). This might be an existing Christian education committee or a special group specifically created for the task. The committee needs to have a chairperson who will not necessarily do any evaluating, but will coordinate the work of the committee. You may also want to have an elder or someone from the governing board of the church as a member. This committee then assumes the responsibility of making curriculum choices or recommendations to those who will make the ultimate decision.
- At many churches the responsibility of choosing a curriculum falls to one or two individuals. As with all churches, these guidelines need to be adapted for maximum effectiveness.
- The EC should pray regularly for this important responsibility and work to communicate with the pastor, elders, teachers, parents, etc.
- The committee needs to establish the criteria and the rating system used in the evaluation. You might consider starting with the curriculum evaluation guide available from Great Commission Publications (PDF download is available below) as a basis for this criterion and rating system.
- An important duty of the EC is to narrow the number of curricula to be evaluated to three or four. This can be done by referrals from trusted sources, the knowledge of the committee members, affiliation with a denomination, etc. Be certain to get complete samples of all the age-levels of curriculum being evaluated. Trying to evaluate more than this can overwhelm the committee with too much detail and take a very long time. The evaluation process should be able to be completed in three to six months.
THE EVALUATION PROCESS
When entering the evaluation process it can be helpful to have a representative from each of the publishers come and explain the features and benefits of their materials.
Click here to download The Evaluation Process (PDF)
Once a prayerful decision is made, it is important to communicate it to all those who will be affected. Plan also to schedule a representative from the publishing company chosen to come and give an orientation on the materials to those who will be using them.
Click here to download a Curriculum Evaluation Guide (PDF)
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