C O N T E N T S

WHY IS THIS STUDY NEEDED?

RESULTS
How do home schoolers measure up?
· Median Composite Scores
· Grade Level
· Grade Equivalent
· Scores by Academic Setting
· Rankings Based on Gender
· Rank on Parent Certification

Who home schools?
· Academic Achievement
· Income
· Family Size
· Marital Status
· Daily Television Viewing
· Money Spent per Student

VIEWPOINT
Why are home schoolers succeeding?

REGARDING
The study
The researcher


The following is a summary of...
The Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998, by Lawrence M. Rudner, Ph.D. A copy of the full report can be found here or, see the peer-reviewd online journal Education Policy Analysis Archives at http://epaa.asu.edu/
epaa/v7n8/
.

All photos by
Rebekah A. Parker © 1999






RESULTS
Academic and demographic information from the largest national study of home schooled students

How do home schoolers measure up?


    Home school students do exceptionally well when compared with the nationwide average. In every subject and at every grade level of the ITBS and TAP batteries, home school students scored significantly higher than their public and private school counterparts (Figure 1).
Figure 1
    Because home education allows each student to progress at his or her own rate, almost one in four home school students (24.5%) are enrolled one or more grades above age level (Figure 2). It should be noted that home school scores were analyzed according to the student’s enrolled grade rather than according to the student’s age level. In other words, a 10-year-old home school student enrolled in 5th grade would have been compared to other students in the 5th grade, rather than to his age-level peers in the 4th grade. Thus, the demonstrated achievement of home schoolers is somewhat conservative.
Figure 2
    On average, home school students in grades 1–4 perform one grade level higher than their public and private school counterparts. The achievement gap begins to widen in grade 5; by 8th grade the average home school student performs four grade levels above the national average (Figure 3).
Figure 3
    Another significant finding is that students who have been home schooled their entire academic lives have the highest scholastic achievement. The difference becomes especially pronounced during the higher grades, suggesting that students who remain in home school throughout their high school years continue to flourish in that environment (Figure 4).
Figure 4
    Differences were also found among home school students when they were classified by amount of money spent on education, family income, parent education, and television viewing. However, it should be noted that home school students in every category scored significantly higher than the national average.
Figure 5
Figure 6
    No meaningful difference was found among home school students when classified by gender (Figure 5). Significantly, there was also no difference found according to whether or not a parent was certified to teach (Figure 6). For those who would argue that only certified teachers should be allowed to teach their children at home, these findings suggest that such a requirement would not meaningfully affect student achievement.


F O O T N O T E S
FIGURE 1: * Developmental Standard Score (DSS) is the test publisher’s (Riverside) scale used for public, private, and home school students to describe each student’s location on an achievement continuum that spans grades K through 12. The DSS scale varies by subject area. Scale capped at 300 because differences at the top are inappropriately exaggerated.
FIGURE 2: * “Other” includes all those enrolled more than 2 grades ahead or more than 1 grade behind.
FIGURE 3: * Grade Equivalent Scores (GES) are a reference point for interpreting DSS scores. A GES approximates a child’s development in terms of grade and month within grade. (For example: A DSS composite score of 170 can be viewed as the typical DSS score earned by students in the ninth month of the second grade or a GES score of 2.9.)
FIGURE 4: * Scale capped at 300 because differences at the top are inappropriately exaggerated.
FIGURE 5: * Composite Percentile Score refers to the percentile corresponding to the mean composite scaled score.
FIGURE 6: * Composite Percentile Score refers to the percentile corresponding to the mean composite scaled score.

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