Bexley Seabury engages in a continuous and regular process of assessment of student learning and program effectiveness. The purpose of this process is to evaluate how well are measuring up to our stated goals; to determine the degree to which students are achieving desired learning outcomes; to identify gaps and implement changes which will allow us to close those gaps; and to alter our goals and outcomes in light of the changing educational and vocational needs of our students.
We also conduct assessment in order to keep our various constituencies well informed of our progress, thus engaging them in the ongoing mission of the seminary. Our aim is to provide the highest possible quality of education, formation, and enrichment for all participants through our program offerings.
Bexley Seabury’s approach to assessment of student learning and program effectiveness is outcome-oriented and evidence-based. Each student has a portfolio into which work from each course is deposited and evaluated using a standardized curricular-level rubric. The evidence we gather and analyze includes the following quantitative, qualitative, direct, and indirect evidence:
- completion and graduation rates;
- placement data (MDiv graduates);
- student course survey results;
- aggregated scores from curricular-level rubrics that record demonstrable achievement of learning outcomes for each degree program (based on student work from each course and deposited into student portfolios); and
- periodically comprehensive reviews of each program.
The Master of Divinity Program
Click here to read the most current Master of Divinity Assessment plan.
This program is designed primarily to train persons for lay and ordained ministries in church and other contexts. In addition to aggregated evidence of student learning using curricular outcomes as assessment criteria, other key markers of program effectiveness and tracking student success include the percentage of students who complete their program. The following data reflects this key marker for students who began their MDiv studies in 2018, with the expectation that they would complete the program and were expected to graduate from Bexley Seabury Seminary in the period 2021 to 2024.
|2018 MDiv Cohort members||12|
|MDiv completed within 4 years (2022)||8 (67%)|
|Transferred to and completed the DAS||2 (17%)|
|Still enrolled in the MDiv program||0 (0%)|
Master’s-level student survey data providing indirect evidence of student learning in classes offered in the 2020-2021 Academic Year is summarized in the following chart:
Master’s-Level Student Course Evaluations 2021-2022
|# of surveys||Avg. Score between 1-10||% between 8-10|
|Courses contributed to progress toward relevant curricular goals||337||9.0||84|
|Students integrated course material with vocation and ministry||300||8.9||84|
|Quality of Instruction||386||9.3||90|
Direct evidence of MDiv student learning in Bexley Seabury courses, based on faculty evaluations of students’ course work and achievement of learning objectives, provides a measure of overall curricular effectiveness when those evaluations are considered in the aggregate. Artifacts for each student in each course are evaluated using a universal rubric assessing achievement of 23 curricular outcomes within the five program goals. These outcomes are scored using a three-point scale where 1 = Unsatisfactory/Inadequate Proficiency, 2 = Satisfactory/Adequate Proficiency, and 3 = Outstanding/High Proficiency. Bexley Seabury faculty review these evaluations in the aggregate every four years at a minimum, with the last review taking place in 2020. For the period Spring 2018 through Summer 2020, average scores ranged from a low of 2.21 to a high of 2.8, with 91% of aggregate averages occurring between 2.5 and 3.0.
The Doctor of Ministry Programs
The DMin degree is designed to enhance the ministerial leadership of those who have an MDiv (or the equivalent) and who have been in professional ministry for at least three years.
- The DMin in Congregational Development encourages students to reflect theologically on the nature of the church, understand the challenges and opportunities facing today’s faith communities, analyze congregations and their contexts, practice effective community organizing and strategizing, and develop a learning community with others who are asking similar questions.
- The DMin in Preaching program, offered in collaboration with six other Chicago-area seminaries within the the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS), offers opportunities for experienced preachers to grow in their preaching skills and ministries. Key markers of program and educational effectiveness for the DMin programs are: student enrollment, program progression and completion; progress towards curricular goals and desired learning outcomes; quality of instruction; students’ ability to integrate course material with vocation and ministry.
DMin in Congregational Development
Click here to read the most current DMin in Congregational Development Assessment plan.
This program can be completed within three years. However, students conducting longitudinal or more complex congregational research typically take longer, and may take up to six years. The following data reflects program progression and completion as of 2020 by students who began their programs in the period between 2011 and 2014, with the expectation that they would complete the program within six years.
|Progress of 2011-2014 DMin-CD Cohort Members through May, 2020|
|Total Students||# (21)||% (100)|
|Degree completed within 6 years||4||19|
|Pre-Candidacy (courses completed/thesis proposal in progress)||2||10|
|Course work in progress||3||14|
|Diplomas awarded (9 courses + Congregational Study)||3||14|
|Certificates completed (4 courses + Congregational Study)||0||0|
The following chart summarizes DMin-Congregational Development student course evaluation data, providing indirect evidence of student learning in classes offered in the 2020-2021 Academic Year.
|DMin-CD Student Course Evaluations 2020-2021||Avg. Score (1-10)||% between 8-10|
|Courses contributed to students’ progress toward curricular goals||9.3||86|
|Students integrated course material with vocation and ministry||9.5||91|
|Quality of instruction||9.6||94|
Direct evidence of DMin-CD student learning in Bexley Seabury courses, based on faculty evaluations of students’ course work and achievement of learning objectives, provides a measure of overall curricular effectiveness when those evaluations are considered in the aggregate. Artifacts for each student in each course are evaluated using a universal rubric assessing achievement of 17 curricular outcomes within the four program goals. These outcomes are scored using a three-point scale where 1 = Unsatisfactory/Inadequate Proficiency, 2 = Satisfactory/Adequate Proficiency, and 3 = Outstanding/High Proficiency. Bexley Seabury faculty review these evaluations in the aggregate every four years at a minimum, with the last review taking place in 2020. For the period Summer 2018 through Summer 2020, average scores ranged from a low of 2.3 to a high of 2.96, with 82% of aggregate averages occurring between 2.5 and 3.0.
DMin in Preaching
The ACTS DMin in Preaching is normally completed in three years. Assessment of student learning and curricular effectiveness in this program is implemented by the ACTS administrative staff. Click here to examine available ACTS tables that reflect assessment of student achievement of learning outcomes based on rubric scores for select sermons and for the oral exam. This data covers the period 2018 to 2020 and includes aggregated scores for rubrics that reflect assessment of students’ abilities against curricular outcomes that are broken down into competencies. The outcomes include (1) Preach out of an articulated theology of proclamation; (2) Assess the strengths and weaknesses of one’s own style of preaching; (3) Collaborate with members of the ministry site in an ongoing process of reflecting on one’s preaching; (4) Demonstrate an acquaintance with leading authors in homiletics; (5) Demonstrate an ability to think critically; (6) Demonstrate an ability to think theologically; and (7) Develop competency in creating sermons and in preaching that is relevant to their faith
community and program focus. Scoring is based on a four-point scale that covers a continuum from “strong ability/exceeds expectations” to “fails to demonstrate ability/not in evidence.” Students are scored on Outcomes 1 through 6 based on their
oral exams, and on Outcome 7 based on their final sermons in Year Three of the program. The assessment results demonstrate that the majority of students in this program meet or exceed curricular outcome expectations, with negligible exceptions.
In terms of progress and completion data, one Bexley Seabury student matriculated in this program from 2018-2020. This student graduated in 2022.
Of the 22 students who graduated from all Bexley Seabury programs in 2022, 73% indicated that upon graduation, they had already secured a placement, would maintain a current placement, or intended to continue further studies.* Bexley Seabury intends to conduct further studies in the future with alumni to evaluate longer term placement rates and ordination rates for MDiv students pursuing ordination.
*Based on Bexley Seabury graduates’ responses to the Association of Theological Schools’ Graduate Student Questionnaire.
Updated August 17, 2022