Statement of Educational Effectiveness

McCormick Theological Seminary evaluates its educational effectiveness through an annual review of its degree programs and its analysis of how well students have met the learning outcomes that McCormick has established for each degree program. 

Educational Effectiveness

McCormick Theological Seminary evaluates its educational effectiveness through an annual review of its degree programs and its analysis of how well students have met the learning outcomes that McCormick has established for each degree program. It also compiles student retention data for the school. The Seminary’s Academic Policies/ Student Learning Assessment Committee oversees this review, which is then discussed by the Faculty and reported to the Board of Trustees.

The Master of Divinity Degree

McCormick has established seven learning outcomes for its Master of Divinity degree. The Seminary intends that each student will be able to do the following when she or he graduates with an MDiv:

  1. Lead communities of faith with integrity, imagination and compassion.
  2. Perform the skills related to nurturing the life of faith (for self and others) including preaching, teaching, care-giving, leading public worship and public ministries.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the Bible and Christian traditions and the ability to interpret texts and practices.
  4. Work and worship with people from diverse backgrounds (racial, ethnic, religious) informed by knowledge from cross-cultural and anti-racist perspectives.
  5. Analyze social locations and cultural contexts in order to develop contextual forms of Christian ministry.
  6. Be proficient in the theological and ethical reflection related to situations and decisions in local, national and global contexts.
  7. Practice appropriate habits of spiritual formation and self-care and possess a growing, healthy sense of vocational identity.

McCormick Theological Seminary employs direct measures to evaluate its educational effectiveness in the MDiv program. Each graduating student is required to submit a portfolio to the Student Learning Assessment Committee. The portfolios include seven documents that illustrate the students’ abilities in the learning outcomes listed above. Readers from outside the Seminary then read and evaluate the portfolios according to a four point scale for each learning outcome:

  • Fails to meet minimal standards
  • Beginning-Developing
  • Adequate-Good
  • Exemplary-Excellent

McCormick’s goal is for 90% or more of students to be rated at the level of adequate-good or exemplary-excellent. The chart below indicates the percentage of adequate-good and exemplary-excellent portfolio scores for MDiv students in 2009 – 2013, by outcomes. As the chart indicates, with very few exceptions, McCormick Theological Seminary has consistently achieved its student learning goals at the 90% or higher level.

Master of Divinity Portfolio Evaluations
McCormick Theological Seminary, 2009-2013
Percentage of Students Who Meet or Exceed Program Learning Outcomes

Portfolio Evaluations

The Master of Arts in Theology Studies Degree

McCormick has established three learning outcomes for its Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree. The Seminary intends that students who graduate with an MTS degree from McCormick will be able to do the following:

  1. Exhibit the ability to interpret and teach Christian traditions, texts, and practices that nurture the life of faith and scholarship in themselves and the communities they serve.
  2. Articulate a point of view effectively and coherently in spoken and written communication.
  3. Engage in theological research and analysis based upon an argument and construct a theological essay or thesis article.

McCormick Theological Seminary employs direct measures to evaluate its educational effectiveness in the MTS program. Each graduating student is required to submit her or his summative paper to the Student Learning Assessment Committee. The summative paper is either the masters thesis or the paper written for the required course in research methods. Readers from outside the Seminary then read and evaluate the paper according to a four point scale for each learning outcome:

  • Fails to meet minimal standards
  • Beginning-Developing
  • Adequate-Good
  • Exemplary-Excellent

McCormick’s goal is for 90% or more of students to be rated at the level of adequate-good or exemplary-excellent. The chart below indicates the percentage of adequate-good and exemplary-excellent portfolio scores for MTS students in 2009 – 2013, by outcomes. As the chart indicates, McCormick Theological Seminary has consistently achieved its student learning goals at the level of 80% or higher. To improve the effectiveness of the MTS degree, McCormick has recently instituted two required courses in the MTS program, which are focused on reading, research, and writing.

Master of Arts in Theological Studies Portfolio Evaluations
McCormick Theological Seminary, 2009-2013
Percentage of Students Who Meet or Exceed Program Learning Outcomes

Portfolio Evaluations

McCormick Theological Seminary offers four additional masters degrees: the Master of Arts in Discipleship Development, the Master of Arts in Urban Ministry, the Master of Arts in Ministry, and the Masters of Theology (Th.M). The first two degrees were offered briefly and have been discontinued. The last students in the programs will graduate by 2016.

Learning outcomes have been established for each degree program, and are available on the Seminary’s Website. For each masters degree, McCormick conducts an evaluation that employs direct measures of student effectiveness; outside readers evaluate program graduates’ summative papers according to the same four point scale. Because these are new degree programs, at this time the sample size of graduates is too small to draw conclusions about educational effectiveness.

The Doctor of Ministry Degree

McCormick Theological Seminary offers three options for its DMin program: the McCormick DMin, the ACTS DMin in Preaching (offered in conjunction with five other schools), and the Ecumenical DMin (offered in conjunction with two other schools). McCormick has established five learning outcomes for its Doctor of Ministry degree and for its students in the ACTS DMin in Preaching. The Seminary intends that people who graduate from McCormick with a DMin degree will be able to do the following:*

  1. Analyze social and cultural factors impacting society in general and her/his own specific setting of ministry.
  2. Use and integrate  a variety of biblical, theological, and historical resources into her/his own specific practices of ministry.
  3. Form clear objectives and strategies to address challenges and opportunities in her/his own specific settings of ministry.
  4. Implement evaluative methods that encourage ongoing critical reflection on the practice of ministry in her/his own specific settings.
  5. Nurture collegial relationships that strengthen her/his vocational sense of identity and the practice of ministry in her/his own settings.

McCormick Theological Seminary employs direct measures to evaluate its educational effectiveness in the McCormick and ACTS DMin programs. Each graduating student is required to submit her or his doctoral thesis and defend it before a committee that includes his or her advisor, an outside reviewer, and, in some cases, another student. The outside reviewer reads and evaluates the DMin thesis according to a four point scale for each learning outcome:

  • Fails to meet minimal standards
  • Beginning-Developing
  • Adequate-Good
  • Exemplary-Excellent

McCormick’s goal is for 90% or more of students to be rated at the level of Adequate-Good or Exemplary-Excellent. As the chart below indicates, McCormick has consistently achieved its student learning goals at the level of 75% or higher. In 2012 and 2013 evaluators judged that some thesis projects did not give evidence for Outcome 5, which accounts for the 77% effectiveness score in that Outcome in these years.

 

Doctor of Ministry Thesis Evaluations
McCormick Theological Seminary, 2009, 2012, and 2013
Percentage of Students Who Meet or Exceed Program Learning Outcomes

DMin Thesis Evaluations

The Seminary does not have data for the 2010 and 2011 graduating classes.

*The Ecumenical DMin program has a separate set of learning outcomes, which are available from the DMin office at McCormick. There was one Ecumenical DMin graduate from McCormick in 2009 and one in 2012.

Graduation and Retention Rates

Masters Programs

Graduation rates for cohorts who matriculated into any masters program at McCormick Theological Seminary from 2006-2010 are found on the chart below: 

Graduations Rates

Graduation rates in the Masters of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Theological Studies (MTS), and Master of Arts in Urban Ministry (MAUM), for cohorts matriculating in 2006-2008 are indicated in the chart below: 

Graduation Rates

Graduation rates for cohorts who entered the Doctor of Ministry Program in 2006-2010 are indicated in the chart below. Red indicates the percentage of students still in the program, blue indicates the percentage of those who have graduated at this time, and green indicates the percentage of those who have withdrawn:

DMin Graduation Rates

Graduation rates for McCormick students studying in the McCormick DMin Program, the ACTS DMin in Preaching, and the Ecumenical DMin Program are indicated below. The data represent findings from cohorts who matriculated in 2006-2008: 

DMin Graduation Rates

Placement rates for 2012 graduates from McCormick Theological Seminary are below:

Placement Rates for 2012 Graduates