An Inquiry into some Relationships Between Church Attendance and School Participation Beyond Regular Classroom Activity
Gruis, Thomas E.
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The problem. The purpose of this study was to determine if certain relationships exist between students' frequency of attendance at church and grades, involvement in school sponsored activities, and certain social characteristics in their school lives. Procedure. The study was conducted in the ninth grade social science classes at a junior high school in Iowa. It included all ninth grade students. This sample provided a good cross section because of a wide variation in incomes, professions of parents, fairly wide geographical area of the city, and numerous national and religious backgrounds. The population was limited by the small number of either black or Jewish students that have been observed to attend that school. There was a large group of Latino students. However, since the problem was to identify relationships between school participation and church attedance, it was a sample that gave a good indication of churched and non-churched students. An inventory was designed by the researcher in consultation with Drake faculty members to gather data. The instruments were screened for usefulness on each of the questions asked. The Chi-square test of independence was applied to the data generated on each of the questions asked relating to school activities tabled against the frequency of church attendance. A significance of 0.05 was assumed. Findings. Each of the three questions stated above was investigated through the use of null hypotheses. In all cases except one, a significant relationsh1p was found between the frequency of church attendance and the specific item of each null hypothesis. The exception was the frequency which students reported they felt good about themselves. The study includes results of the Chi-square tests for the entire group and also for the compar1son of those who attend church more than once per week to the balance of the sample, those who never attend church to balance of the sample, and those who attend church more than once per week to those who never attend church. Results are reported a1so for the whole group of a test instrument administer before the inventory and to a different group. The following results indicate the level of significance found for the whole group on the inventory. Question 1. Do church goers receive higher grades? It was found that the level of significance between the frequency of church attendance and the grade point average was positive at the 0.00l level and that a positive relationship also existed with reference to honor roll membership at the 0.02 level. Question 2. Are church goers more involved in school activities? A positive relationship was found at the 0.001 level between the frequency of church attendance and frequency of attendance at extra-curricular, athletic, vocal music, instrumental music, and school service activities. It was also found that in each of the above activities there was a positive relationship between the frequency of church attendance and the number of groups of that activity in which students participated at the 0.001 level except that a 0.01 level was found for athletics. Question 3. Do church goers have certain different social characteristics in their school life? A significance level of 0.001 was found for the frequency of church attendance and fewer absences from school, more frequent enjoyment of school, the number of students planning to go on a class trip, and less frequent discipline. Church goers received less severe discipline as indicated by a 0.05 level. The frequency of feeling good about themselves was at the 0.1 confidence level and indicated a positive relationship. Conclusions. On the basis of this study it is concluded that church goers do get higher grades, are more involved in school activities, and do have certain different social characteristics than non church goers. The most consistent indications of significance occur in terms of comparison of the whole sample to those who never attend church. Any church attendance does affect the grades, participation and social characteristics of the students. Recommendations. Further studies should be conducted to determine which churches show the greatest relationship to the school participation; what practices are seemingly most beneficial in a total church program to school participation; if other non-school institutions also have an effect on school participation; there is indeed a causal relationship between church attendance and school participation; what input the school may have on the students' church participation; and what is the nature of the students' activities at church relative to their school participation.
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