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Church involvement of Mormon students and academic success

Thompson, Tobi Shawn
Scope and Method of Study: The purpose of this study is to study the relationship between church involvement and academic success among Mormon students who attend school in a small community. The participants are current students or graduates of a mid-western, suburban high school located approximately eight miles north of a metropolitan area. In order to be eligible for the study, participants had to be active in their church and consider themselves successful in their core classes in high school. Eligible participants were interviewed and their families were asked to complete surveys. This data was compiled and compared to the existing literature on academic success.
Findings and Conclusions: All of the literature reviewed prior to conducting the study indicated that successful students had several attributes in common: stable and supportive families, participation in activities that promoted morals and values, and a good peer base. In addition, characteristics of community groups, such as churches, that reinforce family values and academic success are contributing factors to student success. The strong family values of Mormonism are compatible with academic success. This is partly due to other findings of this study: the amount of church participation seems to have a positive affect on academic success, as does contact with positive youth leaders and role models. There seems to be no difference in academic achievement between boys and girls even though the church may guide each gender into different roles. Finally, this study found that the definition of academic success is different for Mormon students than for Academe, and there are some community characteristics that encourage academic success.