Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr. John Godfrey

Second Advisor

Dr. Amanda Blackmore


This study investigates the effect of utilising formal assessment procedures on student learning in the religious education classroom. There is a debate in the religious education literature concerning the place of assessment in religious education. This debate is reflected in the divisions that occur amongst teachers of religious education in Catholic schools. The debate has been polarised with an uncertain group being left between the two extremes. Teachers of religious education in Catholic schools are uncertain as to the best teaching methodology to utilise. This thesis outlines the philosophical arguments concerning the place of assessment in religious education in Catholic schools. The thesis will highlight the principles behind the utilisation of assessment procedures in general education and then applies these principles to the teaching of religious education. Religious education in Catholic schools attempts to affect two aspects of student learning. The cognitive domain comprises one aspect of the study Changes in the affective domain is the second area to be investigated. The study utilised a nested design which incorporated seven class groups in an experimental and control group format. The subjects were 160 students in the Year 8 in a metropolitan Catholic high school in Perth, Western Australia. Each student was taught a module of work. Student scores from a series tests, based on the cognitive and affective domain formed the bulk of the data for this Study. Other data was collected through surveys, interviews and •taping of classroom teaching. The findings indicate that student learning outcomes can be influenced when formal assessment and evaluation procedures are utilised. Student test results indicated significant change from the pretest. This change was maintained beyond the end of the teaching period. The implications of this research include a greater understanding of the process of student learning in general, and in religious education in particular the results may provide information that may assist religious educators to further understand the relevance of assessment to the teaching of religious education