National Standards & Benchmarks Begin Here:

The Catholic School
Standards Project

The Standards

The National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (NSBECS) were published in 2012 to serve as both a guide and assessment tool for PK-12 Catholic school effectiveness and sustainability.  They include research-based school effectiveness criteria, as well as criteria unique to Catholic school mission and identity. The NSBECS rests on the conviction that adhering to these standards and benchmarks with fidelity will result in highly effective Catholic schools.

The Standards

Download a complete, illustrated copy of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (2012).  Document is formatted to be easily printed on 8.5 x 11 paper.

Spiral bound hard copies are available at cost of printing and shipping from the National Catholic Educational Association. 

Tools & Resources

Working with The Standards

This website serves as a platform for providing, exchanging, and creating knowledge and information related to the NSBECS and to other projects and initiatives that grow out of implementing these standards and benchmarks.  

Assessment Tools assist Catholic educators in gauging and assessing school quality and performance based on the NSBECS.  Resources offer additional guidelines, video tutorials, and more to support implementation of the NSBECS.  Applications provide links to wide-ranging field-based implementation programs and initiatives.  In Impact, Catholic school practitioners and researchers describe the results of implementing the NSBECS for accreditation, planning, guidelines, accountability, and more.

Catholic educators at all levels are invited to share their additional applications and impact based on implementation of the NSBECS.  Further information is forthcoming from NCEA NSBECS Council (NNC).

  • Assessment Tools

    The National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (NSBECS) provide Catholic school sponsors and stakeholders with a sound set of criteria which they can confidently use to develop tools and resources for authentic accreditation, self-assessment, reflection, strategic action, and collaboration. Rubrics, worksheets, guidelines, surveys and more have been developed to support implementation of best practice and growth in excellence at the school and diocesan/network levels. School leaders and school review teams can use these online tools to guide their work and easily communicate results and next steps.


  • Resources

    In the interest of greater understanding and more productive use, additional resources are provided to further clarify, demonstrate, and explain various aspects of the NSBECS and related tools. 

  • Applications

    Practitioners at all levels have developed programs and initiatives to improve Catholic schools using the NSBECS.  These efforts include such things as principal evaluation protocols, school recognition programs, innovative professional development aimed at school turn-around, Catholic principal preparation and coaching, statewide Catholic school accreditation, diocesan-wide strategic planning, and more. 

    The current links to field-based NSBECS implementation programs and practices are just the beginning.  They represent the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  Additional links are invited and will be sought out. Further information is forthcoming from NCEA NSBECS Council (NNC) to share your successful implementation program or initiative.

  • Impact

    The NSBECS are making a difference in schools, dioceses and higher education. Since 2012, these standards and benchmarks have served as a catalyst for change, when adopted and implemented at both the school and diocesan level. The Catholic School Standards Study (CSS), completed in 2016 documents these findings in an article entitled Making a Difference: The Promise of Catholic School Standards, available in the Journal for Catholic education.

“NSBECS is what has been needed. It is a definition of who we are supposed to be
and what we are supposed to be doing. It is a map.”

Catholic School Standards Project

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