- Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Paula Rothermel (Rothermel, P. (2000) "Home-Education: Rationales, Practices and Outcomes. A Working Paper." University of Durham. Click Here), drawing from the work at the PIPS project at the University of Durham (an assessment program), found that more than 63 percent of homeschool students score anywhere from the 75th to 84th percentile level in receptivity to math and language. By comparison, only 5.1 percent of the public school students scored as well. She also found that after three years of homeschooling, homeschool students begin to really outpace their public school peers. Patrick Basham(Basham, P. (2001) "Home Schooling: From Extreme to Mainstream. A Frasier Institute Occasional Paper." Public Policy Sources.Num. 51. Click Here) looked at the SAT scores of homeschool students in Pennsylvania and found that they scored at the 86th percentile in reading and at the 73rd percentile in math. Given that the SAT strives to be a well constructed measurement of achievement and is used by colleges as a measure of preparedness for college-level work, these scores suggest that homeschool students are being very adequately prepared academically. Add to this short list of studies the number of smaller studies cited by Brian Ray (Ray, B.D. (2000) "Home Schooling: The Amelioration of Negative Influences on Learning?" Peabody Journal of Education. Vol 75, Num. 1&2, 71-106.), including the works of J. Wartes and the results of testing done by the Alaska, Tennessee, and Oregon Departments of Education. Study after study shows that homeschooling stands up exceedingly well on standardized tests, particularly in comparison to public schooling. One other interesting note is that there is a complete lack of studies showing that public school students outperform homeschool students. With that said, it is clear that homeschooling is more than adequately preparing students--it is doing an outstanding job.
Research into the academic performance of homeschoolers also reveals some very encouraging facts about the reasons for these positive outcomes. To begin with, the amount of money spent per student does not seem to affect outcome significantly. Families spending less than $200 a year per student on educational material had their students typically score above the 70th percentile. This is in contrast to the nationwide scores in the 50th percentile despite an average expenditure of $5,325 per year on public school students. (Rudner, L.M. (1999) "Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998.") As homeschool spending goes up, so does performance, but again, all homeschool students, on average, outscore public school students, and in one study only 12.6 percent of homeschool families spent over $1,000 per student per year.
Formal teacher training does not affect the outcomes either. Patrick Basham (Basham, P. (2001) "Home Schooling: From
Extreme to Mainstream.") writes, "Interestingly, having at least one parent who is a certified teacher has no significant effect on the achievement levels of homeschooled students. The test scores of students whose parents have ever held a teaching certificate were only three percentile points higher than those whose parents had not" (p.11).
There is also no significant difference in the achievement scores of homeschool students enrolled in a full-service curriculum and homeschool students that use an eclectic curriculum (Rudner, L.M. (1999) "Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998."); boys and girls do equally well on assessments(Rudner, L.M. (1999) "Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998."); and parent level of education holds no bearing on outcomes.(Rothermel, P. (2000) "Home-Education: Rationales, Practices and Outcomes." Basham, P. (2001) "Home Schooling: From Extreme to Mainstream.")
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