The CognitiveGenesis Study


Elissa Kido, Ed.D.

project director

La Sierra University

Jerome Thayer, Ph.D.

project statistician

Andrews University


The CognitiveGenesis study, a project undertaken by La Sierra University and the North American Division Office of Education, set out to answer these questions:

  1. How well are students doing academically in the Adventist school system?
  2. How does academic performance in Adventist schools compare to academic performance in public schools and other private schools?
  3. What student, home and school factors are associated with higher academic achievement?
  4. What areas could be improved to provide the best possible education?


The study included 51,706 students from Adventist elementary schools and academies in the United States. Academic achievement was assessed by standardized testing using Iowa Tests of Basic Skills4 (elementary grades) and Iowa Tests of Educational Development5 (high school). Student ability was assessed with the Cognitive Abilities Test.

Students, parents, teachers and administrators were also surveyed to identify factors that might influence scholastic achievement.

In the United States, every conference and almost every Adventist elementary school and academy participated.


  1. Students in all grades, in Adventist schools of all sizes, outperformed the national average in all subjects.
  2. Students in Adventist schools had higher-than-expected academic achievement based on an assessment of individual ability.
  3. Students who transferred to Adventist schools saw a significant improvement in their test scores. Also, the longer students stayed in the Adventist school system, the more they gained in achievement and ability.

“The longer students are in our schools, the better their achievements and abilities.”

Dr. Kido


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