INTRODUCTIONMany parents and students in today`s society consider a good education as one of the most important steps one can take in life. A strong academic background not only provides students with the required knowledge from the books, but also prepares them with the ability and skills that are necessary to survive in a challenging world. The decision of attending public or private school is a major yet tough judgment for most people.The general misconception that private schools should provide a better education than their public school counterpart is an excessively biased attitude but still exists commonly in our community.Previous studies had been conducted to measure the differences between the two school systems to see whether private schools provide a better education than public schools.One study(Snyder,1997) stated that even academic programs vary tremendously between the two: private schools appear to have more rigorous academic programs, and their students are more likely to have taken advanced mathematics and science courses than those in public schools.Public high schools focus more on vocational skills while private high schools tend to focus more on college preparatory classes.This is reflected in the fact that 50% more of non-public high school seniors enrolled in a university than public high school students (Coleman & Hoffer,1987).On the other hand,class sizes are also smaller in private schools, with less racially or ethnically diverse student/faculty populations and lower crime rate. Private schools also have more advantage of being more affluent, since often funds for private schools come from religiously affiliated organizations as well as the tuition the students have to pay.Therefore private school students are able to have access to better equipment and modern technology.Overall,private schools do provide a safer learning atmosphere for their students.But the secluded environment with lesser racial diversity might have a disadvantage on the development of interpersonal relationships, or the ability to compromise with others.The superior academic progress offered by private schools often leads to higher achievement among its students. A study done by Gibbins and Bickel (1991),examined the differences between public and private high schools in promoting achievement and encouraging high school students to continue their education. SAT verbal and math tests scores at both the state level(Florida) between 1982-1984 and national level from 1983-1984 were analyzed. The test results showed that only the national data was consistent with the common perception that private high schools are superior in promoting completion of secondary education and higher enrollment in college.Students from both public and private high schools have the same opportunity of continuing their education, and an equal chance of being accepted into the schools they desired.It appears that there is not a great difference between private and public high schools besides the learning environment they both provide.But success in college depends more on positive attitude,strong motivation and good study habits rather than the type of high school one attends. In a research conducted by MacCausland and Stewart(1974), to college success has been linked to academic aptitude, study skills, and general attitude towards academic achievement. However, high school achievement does serve as an early predictor to individual`s success in college. In another research done by Reiter 1964),non intellectual and intellectual variables such as achievement motivation, anxiety and high school G.P.A`s were used to predict college grades.Results showed that both motivation and high school G.P.A`s were satisfactory predictors of college success.A similar literature review (Mouw & Khanna, 1993) has done to predict college success based on high school rank and college admission tests such as ACT,SAT,CAT (California achievement test),TSWE (Test of Standard Written English).Mouw and Khannas`results showed these standard national college entrance tests and high school rank do not have good predictability on college success. An average of 30% of the students that were predicted to success in college had failed some classes in their first year, and 50% of the students that were predicted to fail had graduated with good standings. High school ranks and high school G.P.A・s are different predictors because the academic standard in every school is different.A student can have a 3.0 G.P.A and rank 10th in his/her class, whereas another student from another school can have the same G.P.A but rank 25th. We know success in college depends more on non-intellectual variables and good study habits, but there`re other factors that help to promote students`motivations. An interesting fact that can be pointed out is parents of private school students have ahigher income and education status, and show more concern and expectations of their children(Coleman & Hoffer, 1987). It is assumed that private schools teachers have higher expectancyfrom the students and are more devoted to their work, therefore a positive attitude toward higherachievement may in some ways increase the students`desire to learn.These factors could indeedlead to the driving force behind those students. In the same study directed by Coleman and Hoffer, private high students also showed higher educational aspirations beginning early in life. There is no evidence showed students who attended public high school have a lower academic performance and study discipline in college than others. Therefore, the main goal of our study was to justify the biased attitude toward the two school systems. In this study, the independent variable was the type of high school that the students had previously attended: public vs. non-public.The dependent variables were study disciplines,college academic performance.Our primary research hypothesis states that student who have gone to non-public high schools are expected to have greater college academic success than students who went to public high schools.This is measured in this study with the differences in students`college G.P.A.Our secondary research hypothesis states among both non-public and public high school students,non-public high school students have better study discipline and perception on their college career than public school students.This is measured with students・ confidence in study skills, study hours spend outside of class each week, ratings on high school standard,college standard/satisfaction and SAT scores.
METHODParticipantsThe participants were 42 college students ages 18-23 years from Loyola University New Orleans.The participants were selected through convenience sampling from an introductory Psychology and a Race & Ethnicity sociology class.Most participants volunteered to participate for extra credits for their respective class. Of the 42 participants, there were 10 male students, 32 female students, 16 freshmen, 14 sophomores, 8 juniors and 4 seniors. 15 of the 42 students attended public high schools and 27 students attended non-public. MaterialsThe participants were given two pages of consent forms and a 15 question long survey obtaining information on present college and high school academic performance, such as current G.P.A,ACT/SAT scores,types of high school attended,attitudes of study skills and their satisfaction regarding to past high school and present college academic performance.The survey contained both open-ended and rating scales questions.Open-ended example:：What was your approximate G.P.A last semester?；Rating scales example:"Based on my experience,I feel that Loyola`s standards are..?；A sample of the survey can be found in Appendix A.In one of our survey questions, we had asked for student`s SAT or ACT scores.All scores were later converted into only SAT scores for the convenience of calculation.The conversion scale from ACT to SAT is listed in Appendix B.Design and ProcedureThe design of this experiment was a single variable between participants quasi experiment study.The Independent variable was the two types of schools: private and public.The dependent variables for this study were study habits, college school academic performance, and scores received on entrance exams (ACT/SAT).Each of the 15 questions of the survey was later divided up into individual variables.(See table 1)The data that originally collected were 47 people, but for convenience of our study, we excluded students that were-out of the age range,attended high school in another country or attended high school in two states.These five students served as control for this experiment.Participants were tested in groups.Once all participants were seated comfortably;the purpose of our experiment was briefly explained:"The purpose of our experiment is to find a relationship between college academic performance and study habits with your prior high school types. This study will give parents and children more information on the differences between private and public schools, and help them in the future to choose the ones best for their need."Two consent forms were given out to each individual and signed.One copy was handed back to the researchers,and the other was for the participants to keep.The survey were passed out to students and asked to fill them out.All participants finished in about 15 to 20 minutes after which debriefed,any questions were answered,and participants were dismissed.
RESULTOur research hypothesis stated that students who attended non-public high school are expected to have better academic success, mere positive perceptions on college career, and better study disciplines in college than student from public high schools.The descriptive statistics in Table 1 and Table 2 provide the overall mean and standard deviation for recent college G.P.A,the average study hours spend outside of class each week,and highest degree being strived for among the two types of school students.For combined results,please refer to Table 1.For separate mean and standard deviation between public and non-public school,please refer to Table 2. Table 1Overall Mean and Standard Deviation of Different Variables M SD nG.P.A 3.26 0.64 42Study Hours 9.40 7.43 42HS Standard 3.21 1.60 42College Standard 3.62 0.85 42SAT 28.93 167.98 42Higest Degree 4.10 0.79 42Study Skills 3.93 1.52 42College Satisfaction 4.45 1.50 42Table 2Mean and Standard Deviation of Different Variables Between Public and Non-Public High School M SD nG.P.A non-public 3.28 0.63 27 public 3.22 0.68 15Study Hours non-public 10.03 8.80 27 public 8.26 3.93 15HS Standard non-public 3.00 1.41 27 public 3.60 1.88 15 College Standard non-public 3.62 0.88 27 public 3.60 0.82 15SAT non-public 1107.59 174.5 27 public 1167.33 153.5 15 Higest Degree non-public 4.22 0.80 27 public 3.86 0.74 15Study Skills non-public 3.92 1.59 27 public 3.93 1.43 15College Satisfaction non-public 4.66 1.49 27 public 4.06 1.48 15An independent sample t - test was performed comparing the study hours between public high school(M= 8.26, SD = 3.93)and non-public high school students(M = 10.03, SD = 8.80).With an alpha level = .05,the test was found to be not statistically significant,t(38.759) = -.896,p = .376)Independent sample t test with an alpha level = .05 was also done comparing the two school types on G.P.A (t (40) = -.263, p = .794),high school standard(t (40) = 1.169, p = .249),college standard(t (40) = -.106, p = .916),SAT(t (40) = 1.107, p = .275), highest degree strived for t (40) = -1.414, p = .165), study skills t (40) = .015, p = .988), and college satisfaction(t(40) = -1.25, p = .219). None were found to be significant. A Pearson correlation addressed the relationship between student`s G.P.A(M = 3.26, SD = .64)and highest degree strive for(M = 4.10, SD = .79).For an alpha level of 0.05, the correlation was found to be statistically significant,(r(40) = .398, p <.05),indicating that these two variables are positively related. Pearson correlation was found to be statistically significant between G.P.A(M = 3.26, SD = .64 )and high school standard (M = 3.21, SD = 1.6 ),(r(40) = -.363, p <.05), G.P.A (M = 3.26, SD = .64) and SAT scores (M = 28.93, SD = 167.98 ),(r(40) = .322, p < .05), G.P.A (M = 3.26, SD = .64)and study skills(M = 3.93, SD = 1.52 ),(r(40) = .362,p <.05), G.P.A(M = 3.26 , SD = .64)and highest degree strive for M = 4.10, SD = .79),(r(40)= .398, p <.05), study hours(M = 9.4, SD = 7.43)and college standard(M = 3.62, SD = .85),(r(40) = -.313, p <.05), study hours (M = 9.4, SD = 7.43)and highest degree strive for(M = 4.10, SD = .79), (r(40) = .363, p <.05), high school standard(M = 3.21, SD = 1.6) and SAT scores(M = 28.93, SD = 167.98),(r(40) = -.358, p <.05),high school standard(M = 3.21, SD = 1.6)and highest degree strive for(M = 4.10, SD = .79),(r(40) = -.325, p <.05), college standard(M = 3.62, SD = .85) and highest degree strive for M = 4.10, SD = .79),(r(40) = -.378, p <.05).
DISCUSSIONThe original hypothesis of our study was that students who have attended non-public high schools have greater academic success,better study discipline,and more positive perception on past/current education conception in college than those who attended public high schools.Results indicated no difference was found in any of the variables between public and non-public schools.Pearson correlation`s were found between many variables between the two school systems.Previous studies done by MacCausland and Stewart(1974),Mouw and Khanna(1993),and Reiter(1964)have all looked at the relationship between college and high schools.The study done by MacCausland and Stewart (1974)have found college success was linked with academic aptitude,study skills,and general attitude towards academic achievement.This is similar to the result in our study that students`self rating of confidence level in study skills was correlated with G.P.A,and students with higher achievement goals (highest degree strive for)also do better in college.However,our result was different to MacCausland and Stewarts`study that G.P.A did not link with study hours students spend outside of class each week.The study done by Mouw & Khanna(1993)linked college academic success predictors to entrance exams and high school ranks.Results showed that neither of these predictors predicted college success.However,our result differed from Mouw & Khannas`study in that we found a positive correlation between students`recent college G.P.A and SAT scores.Students with higher G.P.A`s also reported higher SAT scores.In Reiter`s study,the same relationship was looked at and found motivation and high school G.P.A were good predictors for college academic success.In our study,motivation was labeled as study hours spent each week,but there was no correlation between G.P.A(college academic success)and study hours(motivation).However,students who did consider that their high school standard was higher also did better in college. A few limitations also existed in our study.First,our sample was a convenience sampling from a private catholic university.There might not have been a good representation of the population since our participants have already been pre-selected as university students.Second,our sample size of 42 people was somewhat small to draw any significant conclusions.Even though our result found no differences between public and non-public high school students in the listed variables,we are still not confident to draw any last conclusions with the bias in sampling representation.If similar research is to be done in the future,a much larger and representative sample must be needed. The theoretical implication is this study will help to change the general bias in public attitude that non-public schools are better in academic training for their students than the public schools.Combining with past studies done in comparing the differences between non-public and public schools,we came to a conclusion that paying high prices for an education does not guarantee academic success or better study disciplines in college.Good motivation healthy attitude and commitment are what decides an individual`s success in college.Some practical implications of this study are found.This research helps parents and children become more familiar with the different school systems;in future they will be able to make better choices on what types of school best fit their needs.Our study has found a correlation between higher achievement goals with better college G.P.A and study hours.This implies by letting high students start focusing early on higher education goals can indeed improve their academic ability and motivation of studying in college.A correlation was also found between high school standard and the highest degree strive for.This shows more rigorous academic training in high school does promote students`continuation in education.Last,if more specific analysis can be found between the two types of school,for example-private schools have more rigorous science courses and public schools have better vocational programs.Either private and public schools can use these information to promote their system.More future research can be done to examine more sophisticated relationship between public and non- public schools.In our study we have examined high school types in affect with college academic success and study discipline.However,we were not able to compare how much do public schools differ from non-public schools in terms of the academic courses they offer.Also,there are differences in academic training among the various religious sectors within non-public high school system,a more in depth analysis can be made to see which sector offers the best academic training.Then again,private schools give their students more training in science courses,but focusing only on specific classes does not help students to do better in college when there is a broad range of non-science majors and common curriculum classes.
REFERENCESColeman,J.S.,& Hoffer,T.(1987).Public and Private high schools-The impact of communities(pp.152-157,pp.32-35).New York, NY: Basic Books incorporated.
College board online:SAT I-ACT score comparisons Online source available: http://www.collegeboard.org/index_this/sat/cbsenior/html/stat00f.html Gibbins,N.,& Bickel,R.(1991).Comparing public and private high schools using three SAT data sets.Urban Review,23,101-115. McCausland, D.F., & Stewart,N. E.(1974).Academic aptitude,study skills,and attitudes and college G.P.A. Journal of Educational Research,67,354-357. Mouw J T., & Khanna, R. K.(1993).Prediction on academic success: A review of the literature and some recommendations.College Student Journal,27,328-336.
Reiter,H.(1964).Prediction of college success from measures of anxiety,achievement motivation,and scholastic aptitude.Psychological Reports,15,23-26.
Snyder,T.(1997). Findings from the condition of education 1997: Public and Private schools: How do they differ? Online source available: http://www.nces.ed.gov/pubs97/97983.html
APPENDICES Appendix A
Please take no more than 15 minutes to provide us with the following information about yourself1. Age _______ 2. Sex (circle one) M F3. Class(circle one) FR SO JR SR4. In what state did you attend high school? ___________5. Approximately how many A・s did you earn last semester?6. What was your approximate G.P.A last semester? ________7. Approximately how many hours on average do you spend studying outside of class everyweek? _________8. Based on my experience, I feel that my high school・s academic standards were:
___1) much too high___2) somewhat high___3) slightly too high___4) average___5) slightly too low___6) somewhat low___7) much too low9. What type of high school did you attend?1) public2) non-public If you choose the nonpublic school option, then specify what religious or secular school youattended. _____________10. Based on my experience, I feel that Loyola・s standards are:
___1) much too high___2) somewhat high___3) slightly too high___4) average___5) slightly too low___6) somewhat low___7) much too low11. On the following scale, please rate from 0 to 6 the level of satisfaction for your non-academiclife at Loyola.
Very Somewhat Veryunsatisfied satisfied satisfied_______________________________________________0 1 2 3 4 5 612. What was your total score on the SAT? ____13. What was your total score on the ACT? ____14. On the following scale, please rate from 0 to 6 how confident you are with your study skills.
Very Somewhat Veryunconfident confident confident________________________________________________0 1 2 3 4 5 615. The highest degree I・m striving for is:
___1) one year certificate___2) two year college degree___3) four year college degree___4) master・s___5) doctoral・s
ACT SAT I (verbal+math) 36 1600 35 1580 34 1520 33 1470 32 1420 31 1380 30 1340 29 1300 28 1260 27 1220 26 1180 25 1140 24 1110 23 1070 22 1030 21 990 20 950 19 910 18 870 17 830 16 780 15 740