March 31, 2008

New Homeschool Academic Study

by Ian Slatter

Do you know when the last major study investigating homeschool academic achievement was completed? Almost 10 years ago!

In 1998, Lawrence Rudner, a professor at the ERIC Clearinghouse, which is part of the University of Maryland, surveyed over 20,000 homeschooled students. His study, titled Home Schooling Works, discovered that homeschoolers (on average) were significantly surpassing the national average score on achievement tests.

This research, and other studies supporting the claims of homeschoolers, has helped the homeschool cause tremendously. Today, you would be hard pressed to find an opponent of homeschooling who claims that homeschoolers, on average, are poor academic achievers.

Despite this success, we cannot rest on our laurels. A 10-year gap between studies is just too long. Unless we take another look at the level of academic achievement among homeschooled students, critics could begin to say that our research is old and no longer relevant.

One of HSLDA’s goals is to promote homeschooling, and to that end we have commissioned studies which take a professional and comprehensive approach to assessing whether the anecdotal evidence supporting the academic success of homeschoolers is, in fact, true.

To reach thousands of homeschooled students—and complete the largest homeschool academic study ever attempted—HSLDA is working with the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) and four testing services: BJU Press, Family Learning Organization, Piedmont Education Services, and Seton Testing Services. Partnering with four testing services enables us to reach the broadest cross section of homeschoolers possible, and we hope that the response rate will significantly surpass that of the 1998 study.

As with past studies, the results will help inform lawmakers, policymakers, and the general public about the benefits of a home-based education, help homeschool organizations better serve homeschooling families, and encourage those who are considering homeschooling.

We are bringing this study to your attention because many HSLDA members will be contracting with one of the aforementioned testing services in spring and summer 2008. We want you to consider completing the survey.

Participation is voluntary, of course, but we need all families to participate, regardless of your children's academic abilities. Furthermore, the organizations mentioned above understand the privacy concerns of homeschoolers—all your responses will be confidential.

Click here to access more information about how to participate in the study.

Thank you for taking time to consider and participate in this significant new study.