NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Home Students Doing Well

March 5, 1997

Teaching children at home is far more successful than sending them to public schools, according to a new study by the National Home Education Research Institute.

While by definition public school students average at the 50th percentile in standardized achievement tests, the home-taught have average scores between the 80th and 87th percentiles on every subject -- including reading, listening, language, math, science, social studies and study skills.

  • The average score on the basic battery of skills is in the 85th percentile, while the average complete battery score is in the 87th percentile, according to the study -- an eye-popping 37 point difference between public and home-taught students.
  • Some 1.2 million school-age children are now taught at home.
  • Minorities make up 5 percent of those schooled at home and they and their white counterparts both score on average in the 87th percentile in reading.

However, in public schools whites significantly outpace minorities in reading scores -- with whites in the 57th percentile, and blacks and Hispanics in the 28th percentile.

In math, home-schooled whites score only marginally better than minorities -- at the 82nd percentile versus the 77th.

The average cost for home schooling is $546 per child, per year, while the annual public school per-pupil expenditure is $5,325.

As to the questions of socialization, home school children are involved in an average of 5.2 outside activities per week. Ninety-eight percent are involved in two or more outside functions on a weekly basis.

Source: Michael P. Farris (Home School Legal Defense Association), "Solid Evidence to Support Home Schooling," Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, March 5, 1997.


Browse more articles on Education Issues