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Mapping America 108: CAT-ASVAB Math/Verbal Percentile Scores

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The 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth shows that those who grew up in an intact married family and currently worship at least weekly have higher CAT-ASVAB (computer adaptive test, Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) math and verbal scores.

Description: Examining only structure of family of origin, children from married, always-intact families scored in the 58th percentile, followed by children from married stepfamilies and divorced single-parent families (48th percentile). Children from intact cohabiting families scored in the 42nd percentile, children from cohabiting stepfamilies scored in the 35th percentile, and children from always-single parent families scored in the 28th percentile.

Examining only current religious attendance, those who attend religious services at least weekly score in the 54th percentile, those who attend at least monthly score in the 51st percentile, those who attend less than monthly score in the 49th percentile, and those who never attend religious services score in the 45th percentile.

Examining current religious attendance and structure of family of origin combined, those from always-intact families who attend religious services at least weekly score in the 60th percentile on the CAT-ASVAB. Those from always-intact families who never attend religious services score in the 51st percentile. Among those from all other family structures, the difference is less pronounced: those from all other family structures who attend religious services at least weekly score in the 46th percentile, and those from all other family structures who never attend score in the 44th percentile.

Related Insight from Other Studies
A study conducted by Grace Kao of the University of Chicago found that among Asian youth in the United States, living in a single-mother family had a particularly detrimental affect on grades.[1]

The results of a study of religiosity and the academic achievements of minority students by Professor William H. Jeynes of California State University, Long Beach, “indicate that very religious Black and Hispanic students outperformed less religious students in academic achievement.”[2]

Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D. and Scott Talkington, Ph.D.

Pat Fagan is senior fellow and director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) at Family Research Council.

Scott Talkington has been Research Director for the National Association of Scholars and Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University School of Public Policy since 1998.

[1] Grace Kao, Asian Americans as Model Minorities? A Look at Their Academic Performance, American Journal of Education, Vol. 103, No. 2 (Feb. 1995): 148-149.

[2] William H. Jeynes, The Effects of Religious Commitment on the Academic Achievement of Black and Hispanic Children, Urban Education 34.4 (1999): 473.