What's Your Curriculum's Score?

Use the CAT to find out

by Alycia Horn/ June 5, 2015

Searching for great children’s ministry curriculum is tough. But we’ve got something that will help you out! It’s called the “CAT” (Curriculum Assessment Tool). It’s a rubric to help you ask all the right questions when trying to find quality, Spirit-empowered curriculum for your kids. 

What is a rubric?

You may be wondering—what is a rubric and how do I use it, anyway? Simply put, a rubric is a tool to assess or evaluate something. It helps define and describe levels of quality. Think of it this way—When you go to the doctor, he will often ask you, “On a scale from one to ten, how bad is the pain?” Zero is no pain at all, and ten is the worst pain imaginable. Your doctor may even refer to a chart similar to the one below.


Where do I begin?

  • First, find a few lessons from that curriculum you’ve been wanting to review.
  • Then, handpick a few team members and several people serving outside of your children’s ministry team who will take the time needed to review it. Finding a few people outside of your team is a good way to insure a balanced and unbiased evaluation. Make sure to include yourself in the evaluation process.

How do I use the CAT?

  • Before reading the lessons, become familiar with the CAT. What are the ten things that separate a poor curriculum from a great one? The best way to read a rubric is to begin with the question and then immediately read the level 4 descriptor followed by level 2 and 0 respectively.
  • Then, as you read through the lessons, identify where the curriculum ranks based on each quality descriptor and record the score for each descriptor.
  • Once you finish evaluating the lessons, total the score and spend some time reflecting on the questions below. Allow the answers of the reflection questions to guide you to a decision more than the overall score.


Reflection Questions:

  • What are the three highest scoring categories? What surprised you and/or gave you more confidence in this curriculum?
  • Which of the criteria had the lowest score(s)?
  • In your opinion, do the strengths outweigh the negatives of this curriculum enough that it is worth using? If so, what minor adjustments can you make to increase the quality of the lower scoring categories?


The next time you are feeling frustrated and want to pull out your hair trying to find the next great children’s resource … take a deep breath, say a prayer, and use our CAT to guide you to quality, Spirit-empowered curriculum! 

Source of graphic: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Pediatric-Surgery/Patient-Guide/Managing-your-childs-pain.aspx

Sub-Section Curriculum
Tags curriculum