NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Home-Schooled Students in U.S. and Canada Outperform Their Peers

October 18, 2001

Home-schooled children are more academically advanced than public and private school students, on average, according to a new study from Canada's Fraser Institute.

In the United States, home-schooled students' average test scores rank higher than either public- or private-schooled students. Statistics using percentiles to rank groups of students by performance show that:

  • At every grade level, home-schooled students' average scores were between the 82nd and the 92nd percentile in reading and reached the 85th percentile in math -- with home schoolers' overall test scores placing them between the 75th and 85th percentiles.
  • In contrast, public school students scored at the 50th percentile, while private school students' scores ranged from the 65th to the 75th percentile.
  • The largest study to date in Canada found that home schooling students, on average, score at the 80th percentile in reading, at the 76th percentile in language, and at the 79th percentile in mathematics.
  • The Canadian average for all public and privately educated students is the 50th percentile.

Thus, although there is less Canadian research available, the academic performance of Canadian home-schooled students appears to be comparable to the U.S. experience.

Home-schooled students also surpass the national averages on both of the major college-entrance tests -- the ACT and the SAT.

Home schooling parents have above average levels of education. Among American parents who home school, 81 percent have studied beyond high school compared with 63 percent of parents nationwide. Interestingly, having at least one parent who is a certified teacher has no significant effect on the achievement levels of home-schooled students.

Source: Patrick Basham, "Home Schooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream," Public Policy Sources No. 51, Fraser Institute, 4th Floor, 1770 Burrard Street, Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6J 3G7, (604) 688-0221.


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