Date of Award

Spring 1989

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Catholic elementary and secondary schools face the problems of decreased enrollment and a lack of explicit identity. The purpose of this study was to identify the rationale for the choice of Catholic schools by administrators, teachers and parents. The sample of this study included 1,042 administrators, teachers and parents in the state of Wisconsin. With an overall return rate of 84.8%, the research included 199 administrators, 282 teachers and 404 parents at both the elementary and secondary levels. The instruments were developed through the utilization of prior research questionnaires and consultation with a panel of experts. Instruments included demographic questions and choice factors. Respondents identified the importance of each choice factor through a Likert scale response. The statistical techniques employed included frequencies, percentages, means, T-Tests, paired T-Tests, analysis of variance, Duncan's Multiple Range Test, correlation coefficients and factor analysis. The minimal level of statistical significance accepted in this study was.05. The significant findings of this research included: (1) For administrators, the most important factor for the choice of Catholic schools is a combination of quality of academic education and faith formation. (2) For teachers, the most important factor is quality of academic education. (3) For parents, quality of academic education is the most important factor with values, personal attention, discipline and religious education relatively important. (4) While more similarities exist between administrators and parents, there are significant differences in the rationale for choice between groups. The major conclusions of this study were: (1) Catholic schools are more highly valued for their academic excellence than religious education/faith formation. (2) The profile of Catholic school administrators and teachers reflects a growing percentage of lay people with little or no prior experience with Catholic education. (3) There is a dichotomy of values and understandings relative to the mission or purpose of Catholic schools between groups. (4) Recommendations for the future based on this study include a continuation of Catholic schools' research, the development of both a national statement on Catholic schools and a national public relations program and criteria and programs for the clarification of Catholic school identity and the formation of Catholic school personnel.



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