Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Studies

Reader 1

Rachel VanSickle-Ward

Reader 2

Will Barndt

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© 2021 Michelle C Blair


The purpose of this paper is to determine college students’ attitudes and evaluations of their K-12 sex education while considering demographic factors; in doing so, one can provide young adults with more autonomy over their education while better understanding how to make sex education more effective. The demographic factors that were considered along with student responses were: state of schooling, whether their schooling was religious or non-religious, whether one’s school was public or private, political affiliation of the school and neighborhood, race of the participants, and gender of the participants. These factors were deemed relevant for helping shape how people experienced their sex education. Six hypotheses were utilized in this survey: 1) Students from states with more comprehensive sex education standards will rank their sex education as more comprehensive, 2) students from religious schools will rank their experiences as less comprehensive, 3) students from more liberal schools will rank their education as more comprehensive, 4) students from more liberal neighborhoods will rank their education as more comprehensive, 5) white students will rank their education as more comprehensive than other students, and 6) male students will rank their education as more comprehensive than other students. By analyzing student responses through an online survey, the relationship between demographic factors and student ratings of their sex education was analyzed. The results showed that overall, going to a liberal school or neighborhood resulted in significantly higher comprehensiveness rankings by students when compared to conservative, neutral, or apolitical environments. Men ranked their sex education as more comprehensive, and white participants ranked their education as more comprehensive than all other racial categories, except for African American participants. In contrast to the second hypothesis, students that went to private religious schools ranked their sex education as higher than those that went to non-religious and public schools. State standards also seemed to have no effect on rankings. While the results of this study are important, the participants do not make up a representative sample, and thus the results must be expanded upon in future research. Future policy proposals should be cognizant of the role demographic factors play in affecting how students experience their sex education.