A comparative study of the schooling of some several thousand US high school students has produced conflicting reactions and conclusions by educators and researchers.
The study, titled ''High School and Beyond,'' involving 58,000 tenth and twelfth graders, was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics of the US Department of Education.
Dr. James S. Coleman of the University of Chicago said the data ''proved'' that nonpublic schools not only were more integrated than public schools, but that private schools, particularly denominational parochial schools operated by the Roman Catholic church, provided an education superior in quality to the public schools.
Not so, says Dr. Ellis B. Page of Duke University. Scores on those tests tied directly to high school subjects such as civics, natural science, and writing ability showed private and public schools to be nearly equal.
Also, Dr. Page disagrees with Dr. Coleman's findings about the relative desegregation of private and public schools.
If the test for desegregation is based on how often students of different races meet each other, then public schools are twice as integrated as private schools, Dr. Page concludes.
But both Drs. Coleman and Page agree about several characteristics that appear to separate the nonpublic from the public schools. The former are described as being more orderly, more academically demanding, safer, and fairer places to study than are the public schools.