Study Shows Homeschooled Students Excel

Special Report - August 13, 2009

Homeschooled students in the United States continue to outscore public school students by wide margins on the most common standardized achievement tests, according to a report released August 10 by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). The study, which was conducted for the HSLDA by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, is based on a 2008 survey of 11,739 homeschooled students in all 50 states, who took three standardized achievement tests—the California Achievement Test, the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, and the Stanford Achievement Test. The parents of the students were also surveyed.

According to the findings, homeschooled students outscore public school students by an average of 37 percentile points in all subject areas on the three standardized achievement tests. For example, homeschooled students scored an average of 89 percentile points in reading, compared to 50 percentile points for public school students. The national average for homeschooled students ranged from 84 percentile points in language, math and social studies to 89 percentile points for reading.

The study also found that teacher certification for homeschooling parents had “no impact” on the higher test scores. In addition, the level of state regulation of homeschooling (such as whether a state requires parents to notify the state of their intent to homeschool) “had no bearing on student test scores.” The study also examined the impact of family income on the test scores of homeschooled students, and found “only a slight relationship between family income and higher test scores.” The study notes that even homeschooled students in the lower income brackets scored well above average public school students on standardized tests.

“These results validate the dedication of hundreds of thousands of homeschool parents who are giving their children the best education possible,” said Michael Smith, president of HSLDA. “Homeschooling is a rapidly growing, thriving education movement that is challenging the conventional wisdom about the best way to raise and educate the next generation.”

The study also provides a picture of the average homeschooling family. For example:

  • The majority (97.9 percent) of homeschool parents are married with an average of 3.5 children.
  • Most homeschooling mothers (81 percent) do not work outside the home. Of the 19.4 percent of homeschooling mothers who do work, the overwhelming majority (84.8 percent) work part-time.
  • Most homeschooling parents are college graduates—66.3 percent of the fathers and 62.5 percent of the mothers had a bachelor’s degree or a higher.
  • The average annual amount of money spent on homeschool education materials is around $500 per child.

"Once again, homeschoolers demonstrate that an excellent education can be gained when one is taught to learn," commented Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. "A proper education forms the foundation for a good citizen and for a well-ordered society. Policy-makers should rejoice at the accomplishments of homeschooled students and see if there are lessons that can be applied to the public schools."

Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.

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