Answering the real essay questions

Lots of things are important in school. Discipline. Order. Good test scores. But what’s most important in a Christian school? We think it is the goal of godliness. And that’s why Christian teachers work hard at hard jobs—because training the next generation for Christ is worth the sacrifice.

Without that guiding mission, lesser things become important. With disastrous results. On May 21, 2004, the Los Angeles Times reported that under the pressure of performance-based evaluations, some 75 California public school teachers helped their students cheat in order to get higher grades on required standardized tests. Are higher test scores worth that?

Of course not. What those teachers taught by their actions will impact the students far more and far longer than any answers to the test questions will. But the teachers’ actions have brought the emphasis on test scores under scrutiny. Perhaps there are better ways to be sure students are getting a good education.

Christian schools have always been in the business of leading by example, of nurturing young people in righteousness, of developing thinkers who lead, not performers who follow. Of helping young people not only know the facts and processes but also how to assess and use them to make informed, responsible decisions and act accordingly.

And teaching students to think and to apply what they learn is not a new concept at BJU Press either. What others are just becoming aware of, and spending time and money to implement, BJU Press has considered a foundational principle since its beginning over three decades ago.

We at BJU Press believe that when a student can apply what he learns, he has the advantage over a student who can only repeat what he learns. And we know that for a thinking student, test scores will be only one indication of how much he has learned. The real tests will come in life. And we, like you, want him to be ready.

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