About the ACRE Study

Purpose of the Study:   

To establish a baseline on what Catholic young people who participate in current faith formation programs know, believe, perceive, and practice in regard to their Catholic faith. This knowledge will assist in the development of approaches to adolescent catechesis and will provide the benchmark to which future research on the effectiveness of new/emerging models.


Overview of Process:    

To study the current impact of faith formation on high school aged teenagers the process will utilize a random sampling of Catholic high schools and parish high school Confirmation preparation programs. After parishes and schools are randomly selected from a national pool, they will be invited to participate voluntarily in the study with a sample size of approximately 25-35 students per facility (total of approximately 2400 Catholic young people). Communities will be provided with copies of the ACRE III Assessment (appropriate for grades 10-12) and directions for administration.  In return for their participation in the study, parishes and schools will receive a data summary of their students’ performance along with supporting interpretation guides. There will be no financial cost associated with participation in this study.

The data from this random sampling will be aggregated nationally, not by individual dioceses.

Initial contact with parishes and schools will be in late summer and the administration of the assessment is to take place in mid-fall.



The report on this study should be available online early 2011 at www.AdolescentCatechesis.org. Presentations and manuscripts will follow over the next few years.


Investigative Tool:         

Current Edition – Assessment of Catechesis/Religious Education (ACRE)Level III

 ACRE has been used for over thirty years and has high reliability and validity properties. It provides summary data on faith knowledge as well as beliefs, behaviors, perceptions, and practices of high school students.


Principal Researcher:    

Dr. John Poggio, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Educational Psychology and Research, University of Kansas

Dr. Poggio has worked with the NCEA and the ACRE assessment for the past twelve years.