Cardus Education Survey Australia Project February Update

The Cardus Education Survey (CES) Australia Project has now moved into the exciting phase of data analysis!

Orima Research, one of Australia’s leading public research companies, completed the survey data collection at the end of 2019.  The total CES Australia survey panel engagements in the nationally representative sample were 10 000 (n= 9000 Online and n = 1000 Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI).

From these engagements, the final survey respondents were n = 4916. This makes this Australian Cardus Education Survey the largest Cardus education survey to be undertaken.  Below is a final percentage breakdown of the respondents in the survey data collection by sector:

Secondary School Type Assumed Population Proportion Actual Proportion Collected (Responding online and CATI Sample)
     Independent Schools 10% 26%
     Christian Schools 5% 7%
     Catholic Schools 23% 20%
     Government 62% 46%
     Home-schooled or did not attend school <1%
     Total 100% 100%


The survey data collection also carefully considered representativeness across a range of key Australian Census data including gender and general population profiles within each State and Territory in Australia.  Once the final data sets were cleaned, an expert statistician from Australian National University (ANU) undertook a detailed weighting and calibration process ensuring that relevant statistical weightings for the data sets were validated and applied across the sectors to improve the accuracy and representativeness of the survey estimates.

Detailed data analysis of the CES Australia responses has now commenced and has been overseen by the CES Australia Project Lead Researcher and Cardus Senior Fellow, Associate Professor Albert Cheng, who is an expert in quantitative data analysis. Cardus Executive Vice President Ray Pennings has also been actively involved in this process. Data analysis protocols have factored in both full sample (raw percentage data across each sector – Govt/ Catholic/ Independent/ Christian) AND controlled variable data sets – which are vitally important in ensuring that the association/effect of the schools experience is accurately identified and interpreted through a sophisticated statistical analysis. This process is on-going and will take time. There are numerous response questions that have been grouped according to 11 broad categories that relate to educating for the common good and include: 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.

Preliminary findings are revealing rich evidence of how all schools are contributing to the common good within Australia and there are some tentative and preliminary findings that clearly highlight the important contribution that specifically Christian schools make to the public good of our nation. 

The data analysis will continue to occur over the next two months and the project team will continue to assist in the contextualising of the findings to reflect the specificity of the Australian educational and socio-cultural milieu. Please continue to pray for this time consuming but highly important process of data analysis and interpretation which will contribute to the core findings of the final Cardus Education Survey Australia Report due for release in July 2020.  


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).