CognitiveGenesis: Assessing Adventist Academics in the North American Division

Speaker: Categories: Sep 11, 2010


[48min, 9sec / 52min, 17sec]


Adventist education -- what's your judgment? Are you comfortable recommending"church school"as the preferred option for the children and young people in your circle? While we have each developed our own impression of SDA church schools over the years, by personal experience and/or observation, at least sometimes we may have been hesitant to share our convictions on this often somewhat sensitive topic.

Finally, there is scientific evidence available to help us with this dilemma.

CognitiveGenesisis the first division-wide (United States, Canada, and Bermuda) study to assess Adventist academics in elementary and secondary schools. Researchers at La Sierra University and Andrews University undertook the four-year project (2006-2009) with the cooperation of the North American Division Office of Education (NADOE) and participation of all nine union conferences. The goals of this research initiative were to provide answers to four vital questions:

• What is the academic achievement of students in NAD K-12 Adventist Schools?

• How do students in NAD schools compare to the national norms?

• What student, home, and school factors are associated with achievement?

• What could be done to improve the educational experience of students in Adventist schools?

To answer these questions,CognitiveGenesiscollected the standardized achievement test scores (the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills for grades 3-8 and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development for grades 9 and 11) and the scores of the Cognitive Abilities Test. Students, parents, teachers and school administrators also completed surveys to measure factors, including uniquely Adventist ones, that might impact learning. Analysis of the survey responses along with the standardized test results help provide the basis for establishing an accurate documented picture of elementary and secondary Adventist academic achievement.

Now that the 4-year data is in for over 51,000 students and 900+ schools, theCognitiveGenesisResearch Team is ready to share what the research reveals in answer to the above four questions.


Dr. Cruise has been interested in the quantitative aspects of education, and specifically Adventist education, for a long time. He enjoys mentoring statistics and research students, guiding doctoral dissertations, and exploring new research questions. After receiving his bachelors and masters degrees from Andrews University, Bob earned a Ph.D. in Education at the University of Alabama in 1974 and then began teaching research and statistical methodology in the Graduate School/School of Education at Andrews University. After 14 years, 9 months, and 2 days there (Bob says"you count the days when you live in the tundra of Michigan") he relocated to Loma Linda University as Professor of Biostatistics in the Schools of Medicine and Public Health. After 9 years at Loma Linda (that included a departmental chairmanship), Bob accepted a position at the SDA University in the Philippines to teach statistics to graduate students which he says was the hardest and yet the most rewarding thing he has ever done professionally. After three years in Asia he was hired as Research Director in the School of Education at La Sierra University with a mandate to develop and conduct"a significant piece of research in Adventist education"Thus ...CognitiveGenesiswas born and now, 6 years later, four years of data collection have been completed, making this the most comprehensive study of SDA academics ever conducted.

Dr. Kido is a graduate of Pacific Union College and California State University and received her Ed.D. from Boston University. She has been an educator for over 40 years, teaching Language Arts, English, and English Education at the elementary, middle, secondary and university levels. Elissa also has had considerable administrative experience as department chair, program director, associate vice president for academics, Dean of the School of Education at La Sierra University and she has held similar positions at Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, New York and Missouri. While Dr. Kido was Dean of the LSU School of Education, theCognitiveGenesisProject was launched - a ground-breaking research study to assess the academic achievement of students in Adventist schools in the North American Division, grades 3-9 and 11. Elissa is currently Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at La Sierra University and full-time Project Director ofCognitiveGenesis.

(Robert J. Cruise, Ph.D.& Elissa Kido, Ed.D. are the La Sierra University-based members of theCognitiveGenesisResearch Team. Jerome Thayer, Ph.D., is the Andrews University-based member of the Team)

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