Please Support Our Vendors!

We love our vendors who come year after year. Not only do they provide a place for us to get a hands-on look at the curriculum and books we are interested in, but we can also talk face-to-face with them and ask questions about our specific needs. A win-win for both of us. 

Our Marketplace helps keep our conference costs down so we can pass those savings on to you, our attendees. With that in mind, we ask you to support our Marketplace and the vendors who create the curriculums we know and love by taking time at the conference to wander through and see what our vendors have for you this year. We’re sure you will find just what you need. And maybe something you did know you needed. 

This is an article from Jay Wile who will be vending and speaking at our Gettysburg, PA conference May 22-24.

Religious Students Earn Better Grades

People who take their religion seriously are generally characterized as uneducated individuals who would rather believe in “fairy tales” than in science. However, the objective data tell us a completely different story. In study after study, religious students are better educated than their non-religious peers. For example, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth performed in 1997 collected a “…nationally representative sample of 8,984 men and women born during the years 1980 through 1984.” It collected “…extensive information on respondents’ labor market behavior and educational experiences.” Analysis of those data indicated that the more frequently a student attended religious services, the better his or her GPA:

While these data are a bit old, the review article “Religion and Academic Achievement: A Research Review Spanning Secondary School and Higher Education” surveyed 42 studies that have been published from 1990 to 2020. They all show that the more religious a student is, the better his or her academic achievement. Now, of course, correlation doesn’t mean causation, so it is possible that religion doesn’t directly affect academic achievement. However, the review article states, “First, research has advanced from correlational studies to methodologically rigorous designs suggesting religion can play a causal role in academic success.”

One of the more interesting of those methodologically rigorous studies (“Not a family matter: The effects of religiosity on academic outcomes based on evidence from siblings”) compared children in the same family. It found that even within a given family, the more religious siblings had higher grade point averages than the less religious siblings. It also found (in agreement with other studies not focused on siblings) that the more religious siblings completed more years of education than the less religious ones. Thus, even with the same parents and family structure, religious adolescents are better students.
Why does being religious produce better grades? One study (“Religious Involvement and Educational Outcomes: The Role of Social Capital and Extracurricular Participation”) suggests that going to religious services broadens the students’ social network, giving them better access to adults other than their parents, peers who share similar views, and extracurricular activities that are education focused. Others suggest that religion encourages students to be cooperative and conscientious, and such traits are positively correlated with academic achievement.

While those reasons might help explain the well-known fact that religious students have higher academic achievement, I think I can offer at least a couple of other suggestions. As a Christian, I have been taught that God gave me certain gifts, and it is my duty to Him to develop those gifts as much as possible. Most of my motivation for doing well in college and getting my Ph.D. was because I knew God had given me gifts in science and teaching, and it would be an affront to Him had I not concentrated on honing those gifts to the best of my ability. While not everyone has God-given gifts in academic subjects, it is clear that a good education (especially through high school) helps you develop any gift better. However, there is another reason. It was given by the father of the Scientific Method, Roger Bacon, nearly 800 years ago. He wrote, “For the grace of faith illuminates greatly, as also
do divine inspirations, not only in things spiritual, but in things corporeal and in the sciences of philosophy.” (The Opus Majus of Roger Bacon, Robert Belle Burke (trans.), Russel & Russell,
Inc. 1962, p. 585)

Faith illuminates all areas of life, including academics.

Dr. Jay L. Wile holds an earned PhD from the University of Rochester in Nuclear Chemistry. Best known for the “Exploring Creation with…, Science in the…, and Discovering Design with…” series of textbooks written for junior high and high school students learning at home, his scientific approach is the foundation of all Berean Builders resources.