The Adventist Advantage

Seventh-day Adventist educators have long maintained that their student's Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores, pass rates, and college matriculation percentages consistently outpace most public school; even other private school systems. The Annual Council of American Private Education Report indicates, performance of private education students on nationwide standardized tests have routinely outpaced those of public school students.

Open BookAre these impressive facts or just well-intentioned propaganda? The Cognitive Genesis study was born out of the desire to create an empirical data bank that could answer the following questions:

  • How well are students doing academically?
  • Are there unique, identifiable qualities that are related to Seventh-day Adventist academics? If so, what are they?
  • How do SDA students compare, in academic performance, to their public and private school counterparts?
  • What needs to be improved, in order to provide the best possible education for our children?

Open BookThe longer children attend Adventist schools, the higher their average achievement.

CognitiveGenesis is a 4-year study following 30,000 students, grades 3–9 and 11; enrolled in Adventist schools across North America.

This groundbreaking and rigorous research, conducted by La Sierra University, is validating what parents, teachers, and students involved in Adventist education have known for years. On average, students from Adventist schools perform better.

Students, on average, not only score a half-grade-level higher in all subjects, but also with more years in attendance increase their average achievement to the 73rd percentile.
Cognitive Genesis Graph 1

Open BookAre higher levels of acheivement related to the size of a school?

It doesn't matter how large or small a school is, how many students there are, the number of grades per teacher- or even how many grades are represented per classroom. Children achieve at the same high level-an average of half a grade above predicted-in all subjects.
Cognitive Genesis Graph 2

Open Book4 years, 30,000 students. Students who attend Adventist schools achieve half a grade level higher than predicted in all subjects, based on their ability scores. They also gain the benefits of Adventist education shown by other research—strong spiritual lives and healthy lifestyle choices.

Student achievement is above average and above prediction, based on ability of students who attend Seventh-day Adventist schools in North America."

—CognitiveGenesis Report, Year Two
Cognitive Genesis Graph 3

source: Cognitive Genesis at the North American Division Website (Click to Read More)

Families, churches and parachurch ministries must recognize, that primary window of opportunity for effectively reaching people with the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection is during the pre-teen years. It is during those years that people develop their frames of reference for the remainder of their life--especially theologically and morally. Consistently explaining and modeling truth principles for young people is the most critical factor in spiritual development.

Barna Research