Frequently asked questions about the SSLS

At a faith-based school, the spiritual lives of students are important. The Student Spiritual Life Survey will help you understand the religious or spiritual identity spiritual beliefs of your students, their experiences and practices, important role models for faith, what helps and inhibits faith formation, and the role of your school.

Developed by NCLS Research, this survey is based on more than 30 years of experience in world-class research into faith, church life and spirituality.



What is the aim of the SSLS?

The Student Spiritual Life Survey is designed to provide an annual snapshot that explores attitudes and practices around spirituality in general, and Christianity in particular.

The results of the survey will provide greater understanding to inform the executive leadership, teachers, chaplains and the wider school community.


Who is the SSLS for?

The SSLS is available for secondary school students in faith-based schools in 2024, with a possible survey for primary students in the future. 


What topics does the SSLS cover?

The survey investigates 6 themes:

  • Personal wellbeing
  • Civic action: participation, service and advocacy
  • Religious or spiritual identity
  • Spiritual formation: influential people or practices
  • Spiritual beliefs, experiences and practices
  • Views of the role of the school


How long does the survey take to complete?

The SSLS takes students around 10 minutes to complete.


How do students complete the survey?

The SSLS is an online survey and is designed to be completed in a classroom setting, in one sitting.


How do schools run the SSLS?

As it is an online survey, each school can choose the best time to run the survey throughout the year.

Each school will nominate a Survey Coordinator to oversee the survey in their school. A Guide for Survey Coordinators is available for their use. For more information on how to run the SSLS click here.


How do schools benefit?

Findings from the survey help you to:

  • Measure the faith impact of school programs,
  • Track cohorts over time throughout their school journey,
  • Show how different age groups and cohorts respond to a variety of faith education initiatives,
  • Help to identify activities that support faith formation and inform future activities, and
  • Assist in planning pastoral care and resources.


How much does it cost?

The investment is $4,950 per school.  Discounts are available for small schools and groups of 10+ schools.
Customised research question design is available for schools to include questions on their specific areas of interest. Expressions of interest are open now, so get in touch to order your survey.


What do schools receive?


  • School Report
  • Suite of Year Group Reports (Year 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
  • Optional extra reports

Briefing Presentation

  • A 45 minute results briefing by NCLS Research staff including a 30 minute presentation and a 15 minute Q&A session


Who designed the SSLS?

NCLS Research is dedicated to research into faith, spirituality and church life and has been conducting world-leading projects to provide insights to denominations and Christian organisations for more than 30 years. Led by Dr Ruth Powell, our research team has decades of experience in the areas of sociology, psychology and religious studies. For more information on NCLS Research click here.



Does this research have Ethics Approval?

Charles Sturt University’s Human Research Ethics Committee has approved this project [Ref No: 24010].
If you have any complaints or reservations about the ethical conduct of this project, you may contact the Committee through the Research Integrity Unit via the following contact details:
The Presiding Officer, Human Research Ethics Committee, Research Integrity Unit, Locked Bag 588, Wagga Wagga NSW 2678. Phone: (02) 6933 4213. Email:
Any issues you raise will be treated in confidence and investigated thoroughly and you will be informed of the outcome.




More information:

About the Student Spiritual Life Survey