NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Astonishing Results For Home Schoolers

March 24, 1999

A University of Maryland professor who conducted a study of home- schooled students' academic performance say he was surprised by "the magnitude of median achievement levels" of the students. His survey, paid for by the Home School Legal Defense Association, revealed substantially better scores for home- schoolers than for their counterparts in public and private schools.

  • Homeschoolers in elementary grades scored one grade level higher than those in public and private schools -- and they excelled even more by the eighth grade, performing four grade levels higher.
  • Academic achievement was highest for students who received home schooling for their entire academic careers.
  • Homeschoolers achieved a composite score of 170 for five subjects in first grade, compared with 150 nationwide.
  • They scored an average of 288 by eighth grade, versus 250 nationally.

The study's author, Lawrence M. Rudner, reported that homeschoolers watch less television than other students, have parents with higher education levels, come from families with higher median incomes and belong to larger families than the norm.

Home-schooled boys and girls do equally well on tests. More than 97 percent of their parents are married versus 72 percent of families with school-age children nationwide. Nearly 80 percent of the mothers do not work for pay -- while 86 percent of those who do work part-time.

Teaching certification of a parent played no role in student test performance.

Source: Andrea Billups, "Students in Home Schools Perform Better on Tests," Washington Times, March 24, 1999.


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