Charles W. Ward, "Explanatory Styles among Undergraduate Students in Christian Higher Education. Part 1: A Single-Institution Case Study", Christian Higher Education 2, no. 2 (2003): 169-185.
In view of the possible relationship between explanatory styles and classroom performance, a study was conducted to determine if a significant correlation exists between explanatory styles and academic achievement among students at a Bible college. The research was designed to ascertain if students with an optimistic explanatory style perform better academically than students who are less optimistic in dealing with educational challenges. The study was conducted with students at The Criswell College and Graduate School of the Bible, located in Dallas, Texas. One hundred subjects completed the Academic Attributional Style Questionnaire and the Coping with Academic Failures Questionnaire developed by Peterson and Barrett (1987). At the conclusion of the semester, and with the explicit consent of the subjects, the GPAs were obtained for all the participants. A significant association was not found between optimistic explanatory styles and the academic achievement of Bible college students. Several explanations for the finding and its implications are presented.
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.
Keywords: academic achievement of children, twelfth grade, comparison religious/non-religious schools, school atmosphere, racial harmony, school discipline, school violence, homework
Martin Dowson and Pamela Harvey, "Right Motives: A Christian Perspective on Studentsí Academic Motivation", Journal of Christian Education 46, no. 1 (May 2003): 33-42.
The correlation of student success with academic motivation is a given. But what kind of motivation is most profitable academically? And what does the Bible say about proper motivation? The authors describe the achievement goal theory and further elaborate on mastery, performance, and social goal orientations. They conclude that mastery and social goal orientations are more consistent with biblical patterns of motivation than performance goals are.
Keywords: academic motivation, biblical, achievement goal theory
This paper focusses on the relation between pupils' religious minority or majority position in school on the one hand, and a number of cognitive and noncognitive educational outcomes on the other. On the basis of theoretical notions about value and functional communities (Coleman), school belonging and school membership (Goodenow), and the effects of school composition, it was expected that pupils in a position of religious dominance function and perform better at school. Data from 550 Dutch primary schools and 10,000 grade 2 pupils were analysed using descriptive and multilevel analysis techniques. The results failed to confirm expectations concerning a position of religious dominance.
Keywords: religious group dominance in classroom, cognitive and non-cognitive effects, religious minority/majority, school membership, school belonging, school composition, Netherlands, primary schools
Charles W. Ward, "Explanatory Styles among Undergraduate Students in a Christian and a State-Supported Institution of Higher Education. Part 2: A Comparative Analysis", Christian Higher Education 2, no. 4 (2003): 353-364.
In an earlier study of Bible college students, no significant correlation was found between explanatory styles and academic achievement. Because optimistic selftalk has been shown to be associated with numerous vital aspects of life (e.g., motivation, problem-solving skills, emotional well-being, and physical health), follow-up research was conducted to ascertain if optimistic attributions are more frequently associated with students in programs of Christian education than with students in a public, state-supported university environment. The research was conducted with students at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. One hundred subjects completed the Academic Attributional Style Questionnaire and the Coping with Academic Failures Questionnaire that were developed by Peterson and Barrett (1987). The findings were compared with the data previously compiled on the students in the Christian course of studies at The Criswell College and Graduate School of the Bible in Dallas, Texas. A significant, positive difference was found to exist between the explanatory styles of students at the two schools. Students in Christian courses of study tended toward explanations for negative events that were external, unstable, and specific. The University of North Texas students tended toward explanations for negative events that were internal, stable, and global.
Using the 1992 NELS data set for twelfth graders, this study assessed whether students attending religious schools generally have better learning habits than students attending non-religious schools. The study examined learning habits that social scientists typically believe are important for excelling in school. These learning habits include the handing in of work on time, less absenteeism, taking harder courses, diligence, work habits, paying attention, doing more than what is expected, participating in class, and being prepared for class. The results indicate that religious school students outperform non-religious school students in five of the nine categories. More importantly, the two categories in which religious school students outperform their non-religious counterparts the most, diligence and taking harder courses; were the two categories most strongly related to performing well on achievement tests. The possible reasons for these differences are discussed. Differences between Catholic and non-Catholic religious school students were also examined.
Pat Tipton Sharp, "Meeting the Standard? A Sample of Christian Schools Libraries/Media Centers in Texas", Journal of Research on Christian Education 12, no. 2 (Fall 2003): 245-260.
This article reports a study using structured interviews of librarians of Christian schools in Texas. The study focuses on the librarian, the collections, the financial support and the selection policies, both written and assumed. Standards related to accreditation are also reviewed. Several denominations are included as well as varying size of schools. The libraries range in size from 3,000 to 25,000 volumes with the majority of holdings fewer than 10,000. Issues relating to censorship and selection of materials are discussed. We call for all accreditation agencies for our nation's private schools to investigate whether requiring specific standards for library/media center collections, budget, and their professional staff would make a significant impact on student performance. Also included in the article is a list of recommendations for a private school library selection policy.
Keywords: Christian schools, Texas, school library standards/selection, censorship, student performance
William H. Jeynes, "A Meta-Analysis: Has the Academic Impact of Religious Schools Changed Over the Last Twenty Years?", Journal of Empirical Theology 17, no. 2 (2004): 197-216.
A meta-analysis was undertaken, including 56 studies, to determine whether the influence of religious schools versus public schools on student academic achievement has changed over the past twenty-five or thirty years. The analysis examined studies undertaken at both the elementary and secondary school level. The results indicate that at both the elementary school level and the secondary school level, as well as both levels combined, there were no statistically significant differences that emerged. This finding held not only for the aggregate measures of academic achievement, but for all the specific measures of academic achievement, a total of twenty-four comparisons overall. There was, however, a statistically significant interaction. That is, in early studies religious schools tended to especially have an advantage at the elementary school level. In more recent analyses, the advantage was particularly larger at the secondary school level. The results indicate that the influence of religious schools versus public schools on student educational outcomes has remained quite consistent over time.
William H. Jeynes, "The Impact of Religious Schools on the Academic Achievement of Low-SES Students", Journal of Empirical Theology 18, no. 1 (2005): 22-40.
Schools have a function to qualify pupils for the job market. Schools are often criticized because they reproduce the socio-economic inequality within society. Pupils of lower social strata have learning deficiencies at the start of their school career which put them in an unfavorable position. From their social background, pupils have a different idea of function of education and their parents are less supportive to their children with regard to excellence in learning. If schools have a mission with regard to the amelioration of society (Dewey), what can they do to improve the situation of pupils who are most in need? Do religiously affiliated schools have a special mission for the poor and needy? And if they do, how is their record with regard to this mission? What are the strengths and weaknesses of religiously affiliated schools in this mission for the poor and needy?
Keywords: religious school, low-socioeconomic-student, academic achievement
Some brief comments are first offered on the research methodologies employed in William Jeynes' paper. In the context of his identification of the advantages of church schools to students of low socioeconomic status, the contrast between the ideals of religious schooling and the realities of their context is then explored, with particular reference to the imperative of a preferential option for the poor and the concept of social capital. A broader argument in support of the ministry of such schools is rehearsed.
Keywords: religious schools, low socioeconomic status, school ministry
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