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CDL Digest

Welcome back to the CDL Digest! We hope to share with you each week articles of interest that you may have missed. This will include current information as well as previous blog posts from CDL that perhaps you didn’t have time to read the first time around. If you have items you think may be of interest, please feel free to get in touch with me at

Student Faith Formation

One of the most difficult areas of mission achievement for Christian schools is the spiritual formation of their students. If you have not heard of the Practicing Faith Survey, I recommend you check it out and see what possibilities it may hold for your school. It was created through a joint effort of the Kuyers Institute and Cardus and is being administered by CACE. More specifically, the survey creators were Dr. David Smith, Dr. Beth Green, and Dr. Albert Cheng, all respected researchers in the faith based school community. Through a self assessment, the survey focuses on helping students understand how they might live out their faith through five faith practices. The cost of taking the Survey is $3 per individual, can be used from grades 6 - 12 and helps informs students and schools what areas of practice are strong and which could use additional focus. The Practicing Faith Survey emphasis meshes beautifully with the mission of Christian Deeper Learning through its emphasis on student actions. This is the ideal time of year to gather baseline information - so check it out.

No More Ability Grouping!

One of the most respected voices in education over the past decades has been that of UK professor Dylan William. If you are not familiar with his work, his article Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment is one of the most referenced of the past 25 years. He tweeted recently: "A meta-analysis of 53 studies finds between- and within-school ability-grouping has negligible impact on achievement, but does increase inequality (defined either as dispersion of scores or association with SES)." Folks, there is simply no excuse for ability grouping or tracking in 2022, yet like the debunked idea of learning styles, our logic seems to like this idea. Please share this research with doubters. If you need to show evidence of the effectiveness of Deeper Learning (project based learning) it has been compiled here thanks to the Buck Institute. One example from their research: "... students’ AP scores were better than those of peers who took lecture-based courses, and their teachers reported that they were more engaged in class and had more opportunities to develop real-world skills."

Other good stuff....

  • Given the latest Pew Research, Christians will become a minority of the population over the next decades if trends continue - and here's the concerning part - "driven by young people leaving the faith." We fight against this trend in CDL schools through seeing our students as "People of God’s story engaged in real work that forms self and shapes the world."

  • Leadership - my friend and educator missionary, Michael Essenburg, is an experienced Christian administrator who has thought a lot about what makes teams work and what could go wrong.

  • I was blown away yesterday by the news that the founder of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia was giving away the company and future profits (the company is currently worth $3 billion) in order to combat climate change. There are no tax benefits or charitable deductions to the family - they stated that will use the wealth derived from the earth to protect the source of the wealth. While we may disagree about the source of all wealth, their commitment to action is certainly inspiring to all of us who seek to make a difference to protect creation in all the ways we can.

CDL6 Conference News

We are looking for proposals that address the fundamental practices of CDL classrooms and schools:

  • Inviting and equipping students to create beautiful work for God’s kingdom (not for grades!)

  • Engaging all students with effective instruction that builds Christian community

  • Using assessment strategies to help increase student responsibility for their own learning

  • Implementing “embodied” practices, rituals and traditions encourage Christlikeness

  • Creating school-wide structures and leadership toward mission faithfulness

Accepted presenters will receive a stipend ($300 US, $400 CN) and a free registration to the conference. You can access the proposal form here.

We are also seeking interested partners. Please pass this information on if you know someone who might consider partnering to help make CDL6 possible.

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