Cardus Education Survey Australia Project May Update

Consortium Update – May 2020


Quality education shapes lives for the common good and effectively equips school graduates to contribute to the flourishing of society. Effective schooling should therefore be orientated towards the formation of persons and recognise and celebrate the shaping of both hearts and minds within our educational communities. But how do we seek to measure our effectiveness in shaping lives that contribute to the public good once they leave our schools? The Cardus Education Survey (CES) seeks provide such measures and collects data on the social, academic, and spiritual outcomes of nationally representative samples of secondary school graduates (aged 25 – 39) – the group popularly referred to as ‘millennials’.

The CES Australia data analysis of these measures has been underway for the past three months. The survey response questions for this analysis were grouped according to 11 broad categories that related to educating for the common good and included: School Emphasis, School Satisfaction, School Preparation, Career Pathway and Income, Groups and Associations, Volunteer Activities, Giving, Moral Decision Making, View of God, Religiosity, and Marital Status.


The analysis of the data involved comparing a randomised, nationally representative sample of graduates from Government schools, Catholic schools, Independent schools and Christian schools on outcomes from these 11 categories while statistically adjusting for sociodemographic background characteristics.

After consultation with members of the CES Australia Project Team and the Project’s external Academic Advisor, Associate Professor Jill Willis from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and input from Cardus Executive Vice President Ray Pennings and Cardus Senior Fellow and Lead Researcher Assistant Professor Albert Cheng, a summary document of key findings was completed. This summary of the tentative findings forms the basis for the writing of the CES Australia Report which is currently being undertaken by Assistant Professor Cheng.

The following six themes were identified from the data analysis and will form the chapters of the final report:


Cardus Education Survey Australia
How schools have shaped millennials and their contribution to the common good.

Impact of COVID-19

The project timeline is slightly behind schedule and whilst COVID-19 has certainly impacted on some aspects of the original timeline, the crisis has also afforded time for an extended analysis of the data and an opportunity for Assistant Professor Cheng to engage in further interrogation of the survey respondent sample. It is hoped that the formal report will be ready for publication within the next few months.

Website Up and Running

We can announce that the CES Australia website is now live. The site provides information pertaining to the study including the consortium partners as well as links to other Cardus documents and resources.

Infographics Partner

We are also excited to announce that McCrindle Research is partnering with the CES Australia Project Team to oversee the infographics relating to the survey findings and final publication of the CES Australia 2020 Report.

Digital Launch Date

The CES Australia Project Team are currently exploring options relating to a digital launch in late August but details regarding dates and times have not yet been confirmed.  The CES Project Team would appreciate your prayer as the project nears completion over the next few months.

Note of Thanks

The Project Team also sincerely thank the valued contributions of all Christian school associations involved in this landmark research project and look forward to sharing these results with you once the report is published.


Recognising the importance, influence and impact of the Cardus Education Survey in education public policy debates in North America, a consortium of Australia Christian school associations collaborated in 2019 to implement the survey in Australia, leading to the formation of the CES Australia Project. Whilst the project is overseen and licensed through Cardus and their appointed lead Researcher, Associate Professor Albert Cheng, the Australian implementation of the CES has been facilitated by a consortium project team of 6 Christian School Associations and their delegated representatives: Dr Daryl Murdoch, Adventist Schools Australia (ASA); Dr Lynne Doneley, Associated Christian Schools (ACS); Mr Erik Hofsink,  Australian Association of Christian Schools (AACS); Dr Chris Prior, Christian Education National (CEN); Dr Darren Iselin, Christian Schools Australia (CSA); and Dr Graeme Cross, Swan Christian Education Association (SCEA).