Christian High Schools Strengthen Student Faith Commitments

Research shows that Christian schooling strengthens the faith commitments of young people.

A study was recently conducted to compare the long-term effects on those who attended different types of high schools upon the longevity of their faith commitments. Researchers compared the effects of North American public, Catholic, religious school (not Catholic), non-religious private, and homeschools. Among the study’s many findings:

"First, the data reveal that reverence for the church and its authority is much greater [i.e., statistically significant, with alpha set at 0.10] among Protestant Christian school graduates than among any other school sector. Protestant Christian school and [religious] homeschool graduates are attending church with greater regularity than their public, Catholic, and non-religious school peers ..." (p. 16)”

“On every measure of traditional religious beliefs, Protestant Christian school graduates show significantly more adherence to the church teachings than their peers [including religious homeschool graduates], findings that hold up after rigorous controls, indicating the impact of the Protestant Christian school on the long-term religious beliefs of their graduates. (p. 17)”

“Belief in moral absolutes translates into cultural issues as well, with Protestant Christian school and [religious] homeschool graduates reporting a countercultural belief that premarital sex, living together before marriage, and divorce are morally wrong ... (p. 17)”

It is interesting that the findings associated with Christian students who were homeschooled were not as strong. Perhaps the peer effect of the classroom environment provides a broader foundation for religious confidence.

The study can be referenced as: Pennings, Ray; Seel, John; Van Pelt, Deani A. Neven; Sikkink, David; & Wiens, Kathryn L. (2011).
Cardus Education Survey: Do the motivations for private religious, Catholic, and Protestant schooling in North America align with graduate outcomes? Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: Cardus,
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