Paul L. Caron
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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Survey Finds Many College Students Lack Knowledge Of Religious Traditions

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Inside Higher Ed, Survey Finds Many College Students Lack Knowledge of Religious Traditions:

Many college students are not gaining the skill sets and knowledge they need to navigate a religiously diverse country, according to a new longitudinal study based on surveys of students across 122 campuses.

Less than a third (32 percent) of college students said they developed better skills to interact with people of diverse beliefs while in college, and nearly three-quarters of fourth-year students earned a grade of C or below on a short, standardized quiz testing their knowledge of eight different religious worldviews, the Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS) found. The survey was led by researchers at North Carolina State and Ohio State Universities and Interfaith Youth Corps, a nonprofit organization.

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Researchers found that student participation in formal courses and activities that build interfaith skills is low and, in some cases, declined over students' college years. And while nearly three-quarters of students in college agreed with the statement that they dedicated time in college to learning about people of a different race or ethnicity (74 percent) or from a different country (73 percent), far lower percentages said they dedicated time to learning about people of different religions.

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