Home Education Across the United States
How Do Minorities Fare in Home Education?
     Does race make a difference in academic performance? Math and reading scores for minority home schoolers show no significant difference when compared to whites. In reading, both white and minority home schoolers score at the 87th percentile. Only five points separate them in math — the 82nd percentile versus the 77th percentile (Figures 6.1 & 6.2).
Figure 6.1 & 6.2
     A similar comparison for public school students, however, demonstrates a substantial disparity. White public school eighth grade students score at the 57th percentile in reading and at the 58th percentile in math nationally.1 Black public school eighth grade students score at the 28th percentile in reading and the 24th percentile in math in the same national sample. Hispanic students score at the 28th percentile in math nationally. However, national figures are not available which allow proportional weighting of various minority groups to match the same proportions as are found among home schooling racial minority groups.
     Scores are available from the Virginia Department of Public Education which allow the scores to be weighted in a manner which matches the proportions exactly in the same ratio as are found in the home schooling sample. When the scores are weighted in this fashion, Virginia white eighth grade students score at the 61st percentile in reading while the weighted minorities score at the 49th percentile. In math the same scores show whites at the 60th percentile and minorities at the 50th percentile.
     Home schoolers have been able to substantially eliminate the disparity between white and minority scores even when the samples are adjusted to reflect the exact same proportion of American Indians, Asians, blacks, and Hispanics.

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Footnote: * See Ray (1997) for more detail about the non-equal-interval nature of a simple percentile scale which has distortion especially near the ends of the scale.
     ** Either parent ever certified.
     *** Neither parent ever certified.
     Home school data are for grades K-12.
     1 Public school achievement data are for eighth grade based on tables from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research & Improvement, National Center for Education Statistics (1996, November). National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) trends in academic progress [trends report and appendices]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright © 1997 Brian D. Ray & HSLDA
This report may not be reproduced.


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