Curriculum Training
Assessments Training

“Assessments Training,” Seminary Curriculum Training (2022)

“Assessments Training,” Seminary Curriculum Training

students at desks

Assessments Training

Assessment is an important part of learning. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles emphasized the importance of assessment, in the form of tests, in the learning process.

Elder David A. Bednar

Periodic tests absolutely are essential to learning. An effective test helps us to compare what we need to know with what we actually know about a specific subject; it also provides a standard against which we can evaluate our learning and development.

Likewise, tests in the school of mortality are a vital element of our eternal progression. Interestingly, however, the word test is not found even one time in the scriptural text of the standard works in English. Rather, words such as prove, examine, and try are used to describe various patterns of demonstrating appropriately our spiritual knowledge about, understanding of, and devotion to our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan of happiness and our capacity to seek for the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement. (David A. Bednar, “We Will Prove Them Herewith,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2020, 8)

Regular assessment in seminary can help students demonstrate their spiritual knowledge, understanding, and devotion to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. These kinds of formative assessments can help students become more aware of what they are learning and how they are growing.

This realization can be a rewarding and motivating experience and can invite more personal revelation into the lives of students. It can also help students create plans for future growth and learning. Some examples of assessment activities in seminary curriculum include “Assess Your Learning” lessons, doctrinal mastery lessons (including doctrinal mastery reviews), and the learning assessments for each half of the course.

“Assess Your Learning” Lessons

Periodically in the seminary curriculum, you will find “Assess Your Learning” lessons. These lessons are scheduled about every four to six weeks and provide students an opportunity to carefully reflect on their learning. Specifically, these lessons provide students opportunities to explain doctrine they have learned in the course; reflect on their feelings, attitudes, and desires related to Heavenly Father’s plan and the gospel of Jesus Christ; and review plans or goals they are working on to deepen their discipleship and their conversion to Jesus Christ. Student performance on these assessments is not formally recorded like doctrinal mastery assessments. These formative assessments are intended for the students’ own benefit.

Although a student is primarily responsible for assessing their own learning in these lessons, others can also help. The Holy Ghost plays a vital role in helping students assess themselves. There is no better companion than the Holy Ghost to help students clearly see how they are learning and growing and how they can continue to improve.

Classmates can help their peers assess their learning, and so can you as a teacher. When students are explaining doctrine, this may be a good time to have students work together to practice explaining or role-playing. As a teacher, you might be a good resource to provide feedback to a student on progress they are making or struggling to make. You could brainstorm ideas or share experiences from your own life to help a student. Keep in mind, however, that it should not be an expectation that students report their goals or plans to you. Some of these goals and plans can be very personal. If a student feels comfortable relating their plans or goals to you, counsel together with them, but also recognize when a student should be redirected to their parents or their bishop or branch president.

Creating an Assessment Activity for an “Assess Your Learning” Lesson

At times, you will need to adapt the “Assess Your Learning” lessons by creating a new assessment activity. Because of school schedules, there may have been a lesson that students did not study that an “Assess Your Learning” lesson in the seminary curriculum draws from. Or there may have been a lesson that was especially meaningful for students that an “Assess Your Learning” lesson doesn’t address. In these cases, you would need to replace one of the activities in the “Assess Your Learning” lesson with one you create to assess student understanding or progress on that topic.

The following steps can help you to create an effective assessment activity.

Step 1: Begin by identifying a lesson that you would like to follow up on. What kind of outcome did the lesson focus on?

Did it focus more on what students know and understand? Did it place more emphasis on students’ feelings, attitudes, or desires? Or perhaps it focused mostly on student behaviors? Knowing the type of outcome you want to help students achieve can help you create an appropriate assessment experience.

Step 2: Consider what students could do to help them to see their growth and learning. Remember that this is not something that students need to show to you or to other students. It simply needs to be something that helps them see their own progress in their learning. Examples could include the following:

  • Knowledge and understanding outcomes: Students could teach or explain a doctrinal concept either verbally or in writing. This could be in response to a scenario in which students would practice explaining the doctrine.

  • Feelings, attitudes, or desires outcomes: Students could revisit a self-assessment from a previous lesson and compare their responses now with the responses they gave when they originally studied the lesson. It might be a journal entry they review or a survey they completed that they respond to or complete again to notice differences.

  • Behavioral outcomes: Students could review what they felt impressed to do or the plan that they created as part of a lesson. They could then reflect on how they have acted on the impression or implemented the plan. A few willing students could share their experiences if they are not too personal. They could even demonstrate some desired behaviors in class, such as using the FamilySearch Family Tree app or showing a scripture study skill.

Step 3: Create a learning experience that allows students to see how they are growing and learning. Find ways to make it interesting and enjoyable and provide plenty of time for students to reflect and assess their growth. Some students may be disappointed with their current growth. Create opportunities that do not lead students to compare their growth with others’. Students should have plenty of time to seek help from their Father in Heaven through the Holy Ghost to know what they are doing well and how they can improve. Students should understand that these assessments should never be seen as final. Rather, students should always be encouraged to consider what the next step in their learning might be.

Doctrinal Mastery Assessments

Two comprehensive learning assessments in seminary provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate doctrinal mastery. Student performance on these two assessments is recorded. Although students need to pass both of these assessments to receive seminary credit for the school year, they can take them as many times as they would like to. Teachers should also make reasonable accommodations, after counseling with parents about students’ needs, for how students complete these assessments. Adapt these assessments or the ways that students can complete them as needed.

Included in the appendix of the teacher manual are two doctrinal mastery assessment reviews. These are classroom experiences designed to help students review together in preparation for the learning assessments. These reviews should be done when students are gathered together either virtually or in-person.


Think about the benefits of helping students to regularly assess their learning. Giving students an opportunity to explain doctrine; reflect on their feelings, attitudes, and desires; and review plans or goals they are working on will help them in their efforts to become more like Jesus Christ. Assessment lessons also provide an opportunity for the Holy Ghost to inspire students by helping them feel what they are doing well and motivating them to improve. These lessons are important and should be taught regularly.