Denominational education in Newfoundland and Labrador : an analysis of the effects of sociopsychological factors on attitudes toward church involvement in education and educational change

Dawe, Ronald Herbert (1995) Denominational education in Newfoundland and Labrador : an analysis of the effects of sociopsychological factors on attitudes toward church involvement in education and educational change. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This study seeks to identify the factors that account for public attitudes toward denominational education. The primary focus of the study is to identify the sociopsychological factors that account for the attitudes of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians toward church involvement in education and educational change (i.e., changing the present denominational system of education to a non-denominational system). A subsidiary focus of the study identifies the factors that account for levels of religiosity and educational attainment. -- The study analyzes data from a public opinion poll commissioned by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1993 to assess attitudes toward denominational education. The 1993 poll elicited responses on forty-three items from 1153 respondents. The sample for this study utilizes selected items and 904 cases. -- A theoretical rationale (namely, reasoned action theory) provides for the construction of an operational model which is used to identify the factors that account for attitudes toward church involvement in education and educational change. The analyses of the model explore the relationships between 26 variables which are represented by nine variable categories, namely, gender, age, religion, region of residence, place of residence (exogenous variables), religiosity, educational attainment (mediating variables), and attitudes toward church involvement in education and attitudes toward educational change (dependent variables). Multiple regression analysis is used to estimate the magnitude of the relationships between the exogenous, mediating, and dependent variables. Path correlational and beta coefficients are used to suggest causal relationships between specific variables in the model. In addition, path analysis estimates the direct effects, indirect effects and total effects of hypothesized relationships. Factor analysis is used to construct the composite variable, church involvement. -- The analyses suggest that most of the exogenous variables, to various degrees, are predictors of educational attainment, religiosity, attitudes toward church involvement in education and educational change. It was found that age, region, and size of community were the most significant predictors of educational attainment. It was also found that gender, age, religion, size of community, and educational attainment were important predictors of levels of religious devotion. The most potent predictors of attitudes toward church involvement in education and educational change were religiosity and educational attainment. In addition, highly educated respondents were generally opposed to church involvement in education and keeping the present denominational system. Conversely, highly religious respondents opposed educational change and favoured church involvement in education. -- The findings are explained in terms of secularization theory. Essentially, secularization theory purports that as Newfoundland society is secularized, the sociopsychological ambience of the population toward denominational education will become less favourable. Some findings of the study support this argument. Other findings, however, are more ambiguous. -- Implications of the findings and recommendations for further research are suggested.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5013
Item ID: 5013
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [117]-126.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1995
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Church and education--Newfoundland and Labrador--Public opinion; Church schools--Newfoundland and Labrador--Public opinion

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