Committee Chair

Tucker, James

Committee Member

Freeman, John; Jones, Ingrid; Rutledge, Valerie


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Since September 11, 2001, religion has been implicated in national and international issues to the extent that a fully-informed American citizenry must consider religious literacy to be an integral part of public education. Through analysis of anonymous questionnaires and voluntary interview participants, Religious Literacy in a Northwest Georgia School District investigates a single Georgia public school system and examines attitudes, perceptions, and educational practices of high school teachers with respect to religious literacy and how existing state standards address religious literacy. There were 189 educators in the system, who were anonymously surveyed by means of a 2-page questionnaire with seven Likert-scaled items and seven completion items. In addition to the surveys, one administrator and three teachers from each of the system’s three high schools volunteered for a series of three face-to-face interviews each. The Likert-scaled items on the 189 questionnaires were quantitatively analyzed using response percentages. Qualitative analysis consisted of coding and identifying emergent themes in the completion items on the questionnaire as well as from the twelve face-to-face interview transcripts. This dissertation argues that public high school teachers cannot ignore the effects of religion in their academic subjects and that a basic understanding of the rudimentary tenets of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism—the five major world religions—is necessary for a complete public education. This dissertation illuminates not only the need for dispassionate, religiously literate educators who can equip their students with this prescient, timely, and from all prognostications, crucial element of a culturally literate society, but also the need for teacher training to give educators the knowledge and the confidence to help produce religiously-literate students. Religious literacy is a relatively new educational issue that begs for additional research, and with that research, perhaps further strides can be made toward an international community united by dialogue rather than splintered by misinformation and fear.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




Religion and religious literature; Religion -- Study and teaching (Secondary); Religion in the public schools


religious literacy; public high school; northwest Georgia; major world religions

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




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