The COVID pandemic has had a drastic impact on many social sectors, including religious institutions, but research on religious disaffiliation prior to the pandemic is equally concerning. Between 2007 and 2014, we saw an increase of about 19 million religiously unaffiliated adults in the U.S. bringing the total number to approximately 56 million, according to Pew Research Center (2015). In their most recent study (2022), it is projected that Christians will be the minority in the U.S. by 2070 if the trend continues.
Disaffiliation comes in different guises and for different reasons, but the data shows that the median age is 13 among those leaving their respective faith traditions. During the past several years, we have seen unprecedented school closures and dwindling Church attendance. Based on the work of Springtide Research Institute, one in three of our young people feel completely alone much of the time. Additionally, only 16 percent see their faith community as a place they can turn to in times of uncertainty.
NCEA is the largest private professional education association in the world. NCEA works with Catholic educators to support ongoing faith formation and the teaching mission of the Catholic Church. Our membership includes nearly 140,000 educators serving 1.7 million students in Catholic education.
In service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, NCEA strengthens Catholic school communities by convening all stakeholders and providing professional development, data, advocacy, and resources to support faith and intellectual formation.
NCEA is a trusted partner that empowers all Catholic schools and their communities to flourish spiritually, academically, and operationally.
NCEA Core Values:
The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) has created the NCEA Rise family of assessments to support both child/youth and adult Catholic faith formation.
NCEA Rise offers a comprehensive, contextual, and curriculum-agnostic assessment of the health and vitality of your Catholic religious education programs. We understand that faith is born and nurtured within community. Taken together, our three assessments measure what both students and adults alike know and feel about the faith. We also assess each members’ sense of belonging within the school community. The assessments offer reporting through our online data dashboard. Results for both online and offline assessments can be used for curriculum and instructional development, professional development for teachers, community engagement and diocesan reporting. In addition, NCEA provides meaningful network and resource support for its members.
No. Our IFG and ACRE assessments are product-agnostic. They follow a strict blueprint in alignment with the four Pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the five Tasks of Catechesis. The most recent revision of ACRE was launched in the fall of 2022.
No. Both the IFG and ACRE are criterion-referenced assessments. Students and adults either meet the cut scores for “Proficient” or “Advanced” or they don’t, regardless of how other students performed. School and parish programs can compare their results to diocesan and national reports, as well as trends over time. NCEA has partnered with Alpine Testing Solutions to ensure our assessments are both valid and reliable.
In addition, our IFG and ACRE assessments follow a strict blueprint in alignment with the four Pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the five Tasks of Catechesis. The most recent revision of ACRE was launched in the fall of 2022.
Springtide Research Institute is committed to understanding the distinct ways new generations experience and express community, identity, and meaning. They believe no young person should have to navigate life’s most important questions alone. With actionable insights rooted in sociological research, Springtide equips those who care about young people to care better. Springtide exists at the intersection of religious and human experience in the lives of young people. They’re here to turn the tide.
To learn more, go to: springtideresearch.org.
In 2018, Catholic Faith Technologies (CFT) was selected as NCEA’s technology partner for the administration of all IFG Adult Survey and ACRE for Youth programs. CFT is the client interface for ordering, assigning, grading, reporting, and support for NCEA Rise. Springtide Research Institute oversees reporting and support for the Belonging Index.
If you care about your students’ mental health, you care about how much they feel like they belong in your school. If you want to retain your staff and faculty, a sense of belonging can help create loyalty and empowerment in your school. If you want your families to engage and invest in your school community, ensuring they feel that they matter and belong to your school is essential in building lasting, durable relationships. More than that, belonging is a natural extension of our Catholic faith––gathering in communion, living out our faith together.
The survey blueprints cannot be changed. For ACRE and IFG, additional questions can be assessed through a variety of means (e.g., accreditation processes, classroom assessments, etc.).
If you have questions in this regard, please contact John Galvan, NCEA Vice President of Assessments, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schools are accustomed to sending surveys to students and have generally developed internal protocols for acquiring parent consent, if needed.
ACRE/IFG surveys are housed in a secure system by CFT. To learn more about CFT’s privacy and security policies, go to Catholic Faith Technologies.
These surveys are intended to inform schools, parishes and dioceses with aggregate reports measuring what students and adults know and feel about the faith.
With the Belonging Index in particular, Springtide defers to the school’s policy about surveying and follows their specific protocols. The Index never asks students to answer questions about sensitive or harmful content and are generally regarded as any other academic evaluation. In fact, all three of the Belonging Index surveys are specifically designed to protect the identity of the respondents by not asking any information that can be directly tied back to an individual student, faculty/staff member, or family member. We don’t collect names, email addresses, or either physical or IP addresses. Springtide only analyzes data in the aggregate, and individual respondent answers are never shared with anyone. Data is stored in an encrypted location in Springtide’s systems and is only used to generate cumulative reports.
Yes! NCEA offers training to assist dioceses in interpreting results for actionable steps to improve your religious education programs. We also host a large archive of printed materials, publications, webinars, podcasts, blogs, etc. to support our users in response to reports. In addition, recommended courses follow your IFG for Adults assessment results based on your report. This can assist in providing necessary professional development for any identified gaps. These come at a reasonable cost of $5.00 per user.
More information can be found on the NCEA Rise Resource page for each assessment.
We are here to help!
General questions about NCEA Rise and their family of assessments:
Contact John Galvan, NCEA Vice President of Assessments, at email@example.com.
For all IFG and ACRE inquiries:
Phone (Central Standard Time): 1-800-707-NCEA (6232)
For all Belonging Index questions:
We encourage leaders in dioceses, schools, and parishes to view a demonstration of our assessments. For the IFG Adult Survey and ACRE for Youth, click on the ACRE or IFG tab at the top of this page tab and click the link under "Sign Up My School or Parish" to demo the online assessments.
For a demonstration of the Belonging Index go to:
Belonging Index for Students: https://s.pointerpro.com/studentnceademo
Belonging Index for Families: https://s.pointerpro.com/familynceademo
Belonging Index for Faculty & Staff: https://s.pointerpro.com/facultystaffnceademo
Belonging Indices ask a variety of questions and styles, rooted in proprietary research, in order to arrive at the metric of the students’ experience of belonging, so questions are not available in advance.
To help you plan implementation of the IFG Adult Survey and/or ACRE for Youth programs in your schools and parishes, we may need to know more about your diocese’s specific needs.
To learn more about diocesan planning, contact John Galvan, NCEA Vice President of Assessments, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you're ordering online or paper/pencil IFG Adult Survey and ACRE for Youth assessments, the first step is to create your login for NCEA Rise. The Belonging Index is only offered online. You'll need your login to order any materials, access support pages and view reports. See below for more information on establishing an account and completing an order.
If you are ordering for multiple parishes and/or school programs, please call CFT before starting the process. 1-800-707-NCEA (6232).
Go to this link for instructions: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxVJyz4Tc50
You can register a proctor for your online assessment for both IFG and ACRE to make administering it even easier. Instructions for registering a proctor are emailed after completing an order for an online assessment. Once registered, proctors can view student progress, generate login codes, and close classes for grading when testing is complete. For further proctoring instructions, click here.
For the Belonging Index, all you need to do is get the link out to your students, faculty and staff, and/or families. The purchase of a Belonging Index comes with access to a communications kit, which give advice on how to administer that survey.
Visit the NCEA Blog for more information.
Users should allow at least two weeks prior to administering the assessments before placing an order. Our goal is to ship physical orders by 1:00 PM CST every day. If we receive an order after 1:00 PM CST, we cannot guarantee it will go out the same day.
If you would like someone other than the purchaser to receive your results, contact the CFT support team, and they will ensure the correct person/people are set up.
For all IFG and ACRE inquiries, simply email us at email@example.com or give us a call during regular business hours (Central Standard Time) at 1-800-707-NCEA (6232).
For all Belonging Index questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
All reports, of course, can be shared with other respective parties at the discretion of the administrator.
For students, the number one way to get high engagement is to set aside class or homeroom time to complete the survey. Letting students know why you are choosing to do this survey and how it will benefit them and the school is important.
For parents, an email blast explaining why you are choosing to do this survey alongside putting the link into regular school communications will definitely help garner more participation.
For faculty and staff, email is probably the best way to get the survey out there, but talking about the value of the survey at a faculty/staff meeting can help them understand why it is important to take the time to complete the survey.
No, we don’t want to interfere with the processes and systems calculating the survey results. Plus, we don’t want to give undue bias based on early results that aren’t statistically representative. It’s best to be patient and wait for the end result!
ACRE takes approximately 45 minutes for students to complete depending on the Level. IFG for Adults takes about 60 minutes. Belonging surveys take about 10-15 minutes to complete.
Yes. We can handle the traffic from our end. However, some schools have internet service that can’t handle all the students online at once. This is exactly why we also recommend having all the students take it during a specific class (religion or English) over the course of a day or two. This spreads out the number of students trying to access the internet at any one time.
Yes. You can purchase answer sheets from the online store for both the IFG and ACRE. Test booklets are digitally included with your purchase. Links to the booklet are provided in two places - via a direct link received in the instructions email after your purchase is completed or, after logging into your account, via the Library shown under the Resources tab.
Offline materials will be sent to your organization by CFT. When the answer sheets are returned, they are scored and results can be viewed online. Our goal is to have results posted within two business days of receiving the answer sheets. During peak testing windows, results may be delayed. The Belonging Index is only offered online.
It’s easy. Choose a group you’d like to get a pulse on (families, students, or staff—or all three). Once your purchase is complete, you’ll get an email inviting you to return to your dashboard. You'll need to enter information into the "course" at least two weeks before you wish to launch the survey. Once we receive your information, you'll be sent your link. Plus, you’ll get access to a full communications kit that will empower you with templated emails, letters, and social media posts you can use in order to get the survey out to each member of your community. Once your families, faculty/staff, and/or students have completed the survey, you'll return to the "course" and let us know that you are ready for your results. After completing that process, Springtide will take two weeks (or less) to crunch your data and return your results. Your results will be posted to your dashboard in the form of a PDF and an online dashboard.
All materials can be ordered through our online store. To access the store, please log into your NCEA account. Click here to find step-by-step instructions.
We ask that anyone ordering for multiple organizations, please call us directly at 1-800-707-NCEA (6232).
Payment can be made using a credit card or by purchase order. These options are presented at checkout from the store.
Pricing for NCEA Rise materials are as follows:
ACRE Online Assessments: $2.50 ea
ACRE Answer Sheets: $4.00 ea
IFG Online: $6.00
IFG Answer Sheet: $7.00
IFG Booklet: $2.00
Belonging Index for Students: $1,250 per school
Belonging Index for Faculty & Staff: $1,250 per school
Belonging Index for Families: $1,250 per school
All previous answer sheets are invalid as of October 2022. Valid answer sheets have the NCEA Rise logo on them.
New answer sheets are available for those administering the offline assessments. These answer sheets are NOT unique to each level, so the same answer sheet is used for all levels.
NCEA has designed new Survey booklets. The differentiator is that the new booklets will be branded as NCEA Rise and distributed as PDFs through the platform. The old booklets can be accommodated for the IFG, but ACRE Levels 1, 2, & 3 will need the updated booklets.
Submit your answer sheets in the pre-addressed envelope provided with your test materials.
You'll no longer need a separate header/cover sheet. The envelopes are pre-printed with the required information. Please fill your envelope out entirely before submitting for scoring. Incomplete envelope information can delay reporting.
If you did not receive an envelope with your materials order or need to ship additional sets of answer sheets, click here to download a copy of the envelope form.
Purchase orders can be paid online or by sending in a physical check.
Please make checks payable to:
Catholic Faith Technologies
PO Box 82528
Lincoln, NE 68501
*Please include your Parish or School Name and the Invoice Number on the memo line.
Aggregated reports are provided per level and per class for both the IFG Adult Survey and ACRE for Youth assessments. All NCEA Rise reports are available online. For all assessments administered online, your data dashboard will give you a complete and comprehensive picture of your results.
Individual results are available for the ACRE for Youth for an additional fee.
For the Belonging Index, you will receive a PDF with your aggregated results and suggested action steps for improving belonging for each survey type administered (students, staff, and families). You will also receive a link to an interactive data dashboard for each survey type administered (students, staff, and families). Individual results are NOT offered for the Belonging Index.
All reporting is now available online. For online IFG and ACRE reports, dashboards will be available with test information approximately an hour after assessments are closed. For offline IFG and ACRE reports, dashboards will be available with test information approximately an hour after assessments are scanned and submitted by our team. When reports are available, an email will be sent to designated NCEA user accounts.
For the Belonging Index, your aggregated PDF report and interactive data dashboard will be accessed through the Belonging Index course on your dashboard.
If you’re not sure who has access to your NCEA Rise reports (ACRE & IFG), call the CFT help desk at 1-800-707-NCEA (6232) and we’ll get you that information. Click here to learn more.
The online assessments offer user-friendly reporting through our data dashboard, and results can be used for curriculum and instructional development, professional development for teachers, community engagement and diocesan reporting. In addition, NCEA provides meaningful network and resource support for its members.
After reviewing your data to identify strengths and areas for growth, the NCEA Rise reports can be used for professional development. This includes course recommendations for IFG users starting at $5 per user.
We are happy to answer your questions. For all IFG and ACRE inquiries, simply email us at email@example.com or give us a call during regular business hours (Central Standard Time) at 1-800-707-NCEA (6232).