RELIGIOUS GOALS AND SCHOOL CLIMATE IN SELECTED CATHOLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS ADMINISTERED BY LAY AND RELIGIOUS PRINCIPALS

MARY KATHRYN THORNTON, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine and compare the responses of principals, teachers and parents in schools administered by lay principals and in schools administered by religious principals with respect to their perceptions of the extent of the actual and preferred fulfillment of the religious goals of the school, namely, message, community and service, and their perceptions of school climate. This study also attempted to determine whether significant interrelationships existed among the perceptions of the fulfillment of the religious goals of the school and their perceptions of school climate. In addition, the investigation sought to determine whether significant relationships existed between the perceptions of religious goal fulfillment and school climate and the variables associated with principals and teachers: age, education, experience; and the variables associated with the parents: age, education and number of children.^ The subjects invited to participate in this study were 30 lay principals and 301 teachers and 150 parents from their schools as well as 30 religious principals and 323 teachers and 150 parents from their schools. Among the respondents from lay administered schools 27 or 90 percent of the principals, 214 or 71 percent of the teachers and 130 or 80 percent of the parents returned usable instruments. Among the respondents from religious administered schools 29 or 90 percent of the principals, 227 or 70 percent of the teachers and 135 or 90 percent of the parents returned usable instruments. The total number of usable instruments which were returned was 762 or 83.6 percent of the sample.^ The instruments used to collect data for this investigation were the Religious Goals Achievement Questionnaire (RGAQ), an original instrument developed by the researcher, the School Climate Profile, Part A (SCP-A) (Fox, et al., 1973) and a Personal Data Sheet.^ The statistical techniques employed included means, standard deviations, two way classification of the analysis of variance for independent samples, Scheffe two by two analysis and the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient. The minimal level of statistical significance accepted in this study was .05.^ The major findings and conclusions drawn from this study were: (1) All respondents in this study perceived that the religious goals of the school were frequently fulfilled. The respondents perceived that the religious goals of the school should almost always be fulfilled. (2) All respondents perceived that the school climate of their school was open. (3) Respondents from religious administered schools perceived that the religious goals of the school were being fulfilled to a greater extent than did respondents from lay administered schools. (4) Parents who had more education perceived that the climate of their schools was less open than did parents who had less education.^ Some of the major recommendations of this study were: (1) Principals should involve teachers and parents in setting priorities for religious goal fulfillment. (2) Principals should conduct a periodic inventory of the perceptions of teachers and parents with respect to school climate. (3) Efforts should be made to bring to light the role of the laity in the history of Catholic education as well as the role of the laity in current Catholic schools. (4) As more and more schools become lay administered for a longer period of time, future research should be done to determine if the length of time that a school has been lay administered significantly affects the perceptions of the fulfillment of the religious goals. ^

Subject Area

Religious education

Recommended Citation

THORNTON, MARY KATHRYN, "RELIGIOUS GOALS AND SCHOOL CLIMATE IN SELECTED CATHOLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS ADMINISTERED BY LAY AND RELIGIOUS PRINCIPALS" (1980). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8021009.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8021009

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