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WHY RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS POSITIVELY IMPACT THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF CHILDREN

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For more content, see Journal of Empirical Theology.

Using the 1992 NELS data set for twelfth graders, this study assessed why students attending religious schools generally achieve at higher levels academically than students attending non-religious schools. The study examined reasons that social scientists typically give for students from religious schools outperforming their counterparts in non-religious schools. These reasons include the school atmosphere, racial harmony, the level of school discipline, the lower rates of school violence, and the amount of homework given by the teachers. The results confirm that religious schools do outperform non-religious schools in each of these categories. In addition, the effects for students attending a religious school are reduced but not eliminated when these factors are controlled for. The results of this study support the belief that religious schools do differ favorably from non-religious schools on a number of measures that would seem to support an environment of high academic achievement. The results indicate that the factors that researchers point to as possibly explaining the advantages of attending a religious school explain part of, but not all of, the academic advantage of attending a religious school.

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