College of Education
This investigation compared the influence of public and Christian high schools on the spiritual formation and academic achievement of college students. Recent high school graduates who attend a private, liberal arts university in the southeastern United States responded to an online survey and interview questions related to the influence of one’s high school experience on spiritual formation and academic achievement. Significant differences were found between high school type and the type of problems faced by students and teachers, students’ ability to intelligently defend their faith, and students’ perceived ability to function in a diverse world. Significant differences favoring Christian school graduates were also found related to high school’s influence on taking college classes seriously, helping others, defending beliefs, sharing their faith, appreciation for other cultures, taking responsibility for actions, ability to receive constructive feedback, and being honest with oneself. Suggestions for educational improvement from both public and private high school graduates include: the need for hiring and retaining inspiring teachers who model moral behavior daily; the need for school personnel to listen to students and involve them in decision making; better problem-solving skills by school administrators; less favoritism shown to certain students by teachers and administrators; greater focus on authentic learning in real-world contexts; and the need for academic freedom to discuss critical issues without fear of retribution by teachers, administrators, or other students.
A Study of the Influence of Public and Private Christian High School Education on Academic Achievement and Spiritual Formation of College Students. Proceedings of the 2012 Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, Canada, April 2012.