The study: how faith in God affects school performance
She set out to gather data on more than 2,500 students and interviewed dozens of others for qualitative data beyond the numbers.
Horwitz explains how she approached the study. “Using nationally representative survey data and semi-structured interviews from the National Study of Youth and Religion, I test for and explain differences in GPAs of public school students based on different forms of religiosity” from “Abiders” (those with a strong, life-changing belief in God) to “Atheists.”
Students were classified as Abiders, Adapters, Assenters, Avoiders, and Atheists, to reflect their response to and relationship with God.
Horwitz posted a working paper, “The Abider-Avoider Achievement Gap: The Association Between Religiosity and GPA in Public Schools,” summarizing data from her 10 years of research.
“Religion is a powerful social force—it influences how Americans vote, where they choose to live, where they spend their Sunday mornings, who their friends are, how much time they spend with family, and how happy they are…,” Horwitz said. “Yet when sociologists explore the role of background characteristics on education, they largely ignore religion.”
Typically, studies focus on economic status, access to resources, and parental support, all viable factors in how a child performs in school. But, the research Horwitz conducted has revealed a strong correlation between faith in God and school success.