All the course reviews are designed to help current and future students prepare for their education and discern which courses will serve them best in their seminary education and beyond.
The grading system I have developed to evaluate NYTS courses is fundamentally based upon the reasons why I enrolled in the seminary in the first place: (1) to cultivate and promote knowledge, wisdom, and understanding; (2) to develop a greater comprehension of the Word so that I may proclaim the message of the Gospel and draw closer all those who will hear; (3) and to gain the tools needed in order to build a ministry whose primary goal is to seek and save all those who are lost.
The reader must therefore note that a low rating (purely of my own subjective impressions) does not necessarily imply poor instruction or a course that has no value; rather, it simply implies a course that does not satisfy the demands of the above stipulations. In short, if a course improves one’s ability to teach, preach, exegete, lead, inspire, or convert, it will be rated highly. If a course only improves your participation and relevance in a conversation among theologians, it will be rated poorly.
Below is the grading system:
One star: Not only does the course have no relevant function, but it also has some other glaring problem(s) that diminishes its value and ruins the educational experience.
Two stars: Automatically given if any of the answers to the three-star question is no.
Three stars: Automatically earned if I can affirmatively answer yes to these two questions: (1) Has the course expanded and challenged my existing base of knowledge? (2) Has it equipped me with the tools so that I can more effectively minister to others?
Four stars: This type of course builds upon the three-star foundation and molds you into a better Christian, servant, leader, and disciple of Christ by not only opening your eyes but also taking the extra step to illuminate your mind and to inspire you to serve others in some unique way. Has this course given me a more comprehensive understanding or new insight into the Word? The answer is yes, and everyone should take this course.
Five stars: All four-star criteria are met. Reserved for those treasured courses that, through very special positive experience(s), forever changes your ministry, how you intend to serve others, or how you look at the world. Everyone absolutely needs to take this course.
Half and quarter stars will be awarded as deemed necessary for small, yet admirable, benefits of the course that added value to the educational experience without meeting criteria for the next star level. In contrast, half and quarter stars will be deducted as deemed necessary for minor hiccups in the course that, in the end, were manageable or had been worked out to resolution through the course of the semester.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal