Catholic identity is a complex topic, whether for Catholic schools or universities. Exploring how it could be defined and how this matters for the experience of students in Catholic schools and universities could be the focus of a website in and by itself. How Catholic identity is lived also depends on context, and thereby on the country.
There is no universal agreement on what Catholic identity should entail for schools and universities. On this website, we do not endorse any particular view in that regard. As a service to readers, we simply provide links to resources including benchmarking tools. Benchmarking typically involves (1) defining "standards" or factors leading to success based on a review of the literature; (2) designing tools to measure how well an education systems or individual schools are performing along those standards; and (3) providing assessments and, even more importantly, practical suggestions for improvement. Various benchmarking tools mentioned on this page may differ in their approach to Catholic identity.
This page provides links to benchmarking tools for Catholic schools and universities, with a focus on Catholic identity. Three types of resources are provided: (1) Resources from the United States for Catholic K12 Schools; (2) Resources from the United States for Catholic universities; and (3) Other resources. Separately, we also provide tools for benchmarking education systems (page under construction). We will progressively add more resources as we develop this website, including on whether various ways for schools and universities to express their Catholic identity may benefit or hurt them, for example in terms of enrollment. If you have ideas for additional materials we should share on benchmarking schools, universities, or countries, please contact us.
Resources from the United States - Catholic K12 Schools
In 2012, the Center for Catholic School Effectiveness at the School of Education of Loyola University Chicago published the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (NSBECS) in partnership with the Roche Center for Catholic Education at the School of Education of Boston College. The objective of the standards was to serve as both a guide and assessment tool for Catholic school effectiveness and sustainability. The standards contains three components:
Nine defining characteristics are related to the identity of Catholic schools;
Thirteen standards describe policies, programs, structures, and processes that should be present in Catholic schools in four Domains: Mission and Catholic Identity, Governance and Leadership, Academic Excellence, and Operational Vitality;
Seventy benchmarks provide observable, measurable descriptors for each standard.