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Home Schooling

Achievement
Why are so many parents choosing to home school? Because it works.
A 1997 study by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home

achievement exams. On average, home schoolers outperformed

Education Research Institute (NHERI) found that home edu-

their public school peers by 30 to 37 percentile points across all

cated students excelled on nationally-normed standardized

subjects (Figure 1.0).

Figure 1.0 — How Do Home School Students Score?
Home School K–12
National Average Scores

99

Public School K–12
National Average Scores

Average National Percentile Rank*

90
80

87

85

80

85

84

82

87

85

81

70
60
50

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

40
30
20
10
1
Total
Reading

Total
Listening

Total
Language

Total
Math

Science

Social
Studies

Study
Skills

Basic
Battery

Complete
Battery

Achievement Test Subject Areas
Footnote: (Ray, 1997) Data collected for standardized academic
achievement tests for the 1994–95 academic year.
*For more detail about the non-equal-interval nature of a simple
percentile scale which has distortion especially near the ends of the

scale, see the complete study by Brian D. Ray, Strengths of Their Own—
Home Schoolers Across America:Academic Achievement, Family
Characteristics, and Longitudinal Traits, 1997, Salem, OR: National Home
Education Research Institute, www.nheri.org.

1–2. DC: U. National Center for Education Statistics (1996.3: Parents’ Highest Education Level Attained Figure 2.2 — Public School Achievement — Writing Test** Basic Battery — Average National Percentile Rank* 99 Graduated College 90 80 88 87 80 81 79 60 50 40 30 20 10 1 Home School Student Scores Segmented by Fathers’ Education Level Figure 2. **Basic battery achievement test scores not available for public school students. see Ray 1997. Department of Education. 1997) *For more detail about the nonequal-interval nature of a simple percentile scale which has distortion especially near the ends of the scale.1 — Home School Achievement — Basic Battery Test Some Education after High School Graduated High School Less than High School Education Footnotes: (Ray.3 — Public School Achievement — Math Test** 70 30 61 56 43 34 20 10 Mathematics — Average National Percentile Rank* Writing — Average National Percentile Rank* 80 40 Home School Student Scores Segmented by Mothers’ Education Level 99 90 50 80 83 70 99 60 84 90 80 70 60 50 40 63 54 40 30 20 28 10 1 1 Public School Student Scores Segmented by Parents’ Education Level*** Public School Student Scores Segmented by Parents’ Education Level*** .S.S. November). ***Public school data are for 8th grade writing scores and 13-year-olds’ math scores based on tables from the U. Department of Education. Office of Educational Research & Improvement.Does Parent Education Level Predict Student Achievement? Key for Figures 2. Home school data are for grades K–12. Figure 2. Washington. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) trends in academic progress [trends report and appendices].

Grades K–12 Average National Percentile Rank* Composite Percentile Score* Figure 4. 1997) *See study for more detail about the non-equalinterval nature of a simple percentile scale which has distortion especially near the ends of the scale. teacher qualifications of parents. . 4th Grade Home Schoolers 8th Grade Home Schoolers Footnote: (Rudner. 1999) *Composite Percentile Score refers to the percentile corresponding to the mean composite scaled score. 1999) *Composite Percentile Score refers to the percentile corresponding to the mean composite scaled score. High Regulation State requires parents to send notification or achievement test scores and/or professional evaluation. Moderate Regulation State requires parents to send notification.g. or home visits by state officials).1 & 5. Is Government Regulation Necessary for High Achievement? Figure 5.. plus other requirements (e.0 — Home School Percentile Rankings Based on Parent Certification 99 99 90 90 1 84 80 80 83 76 60 50 40 10 $600 or more 20 $400–$599 30 0–$199 $200–$399 10 No certified parent 20 At least one certified parent 30 No certified parent 40 At least one certified parent 50 76 79 $400–$599 $600 or more 60 70 79 $200–$399 70 80 0–$199 83 84 82 82 Composite Percentile Score* 80 1 4th Grade Home Schoolers 8th Grade Home Schoolers Footnote: (Rudner. curriculum approval by the state. test scores.2 Low Regulation No state requirement for parents to initiate any contact with the state. Home School Basic Battery Scores.Figure 3. and/or professional evaluation of student progress.1 — State Regulation: No Impact on Home School Achievement Key for Figures 5.0 — Home School Percentile Scores Based on the Money Spent on Education per Child 99 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 1 86 85 86 High Low Moderate Regulation Regulation Regulation Amount of State Regulation Footnote: (Ray.

it is working very well! . 5. test scores for home schoolers reveal teach (Figure 3. home school student test score demic performance. behind girls’ (Figure 7. A similar compar- scored a full 55 percentile points higher than public school students ison for public schools students. however.3). Lawrence M.2 activities outside the to conclude that it does not require a great deal of money to home home (Figure 8.0). gender and race have been consistent predictors of stu- In contrast. Math and reading scores for minority home school students show Students taught at home by mothers who never finished high school no significant difference when compared to white’s. Home educated students’ test scores remained averages were nearly identical. 1997) WA MT OR WY CA VTNH MA MN ID NV ME ND WI SD UT AZ PA IA NE IL CO KS OK NM MO IN OH WV VA KY TN NC AL RI CT NJ DE MD DC (moderate) SC AR MS TX NY MI GA LA AK FL HI Home schooling’s one-on-one tutorial method seemed to equalize the (Figure 5. Rudner also found that the median amount of money spent in 1997 The first question the general public asks whenever home school- on educational materials for home school students was $400. 2. Whether a state imposed a high degree of regula- influence of parents’ educational background on their children’s aca- tion.Figure 5.0). Not only is it work- nificant effect on the academic performance of home schoolers ing. Traditionally. the degree of governmental regulation had no sig- dedicated and loving parents for their children. Home schooling is an effective educational alternative chosen by According to Ray. in disparity (Figures 6.0). school successfully (Figure 4. his 1999 study. these in reading. demonstrates a substantial from families of comparable educational backgrounds. low regulation. But home schooling is breaking down those barri- ance of children in traditional school settings (Figures 2.2). Such regulations may be legitimately between the 80 and 90 percentiles. scholastic achievement of most home school students. it is reasonable on average.2 — Breakdown of States by Regulatory Policy (Ray. ers. Similarly. but public school boys’ reading scores are markedly affect student achievement. a parent’s education level did appear to affect the perform- dent performance. whether their mothers had a questioned since there is no apparent benefit to student learning. ing is mentioned is.0).2. these children are engaged in 5. Public school student performance in math follows a findings suggest that such a requirement would not meaningfully similar pattern. th th college degree or did not complete high school (Figure 2. Dr.0). or no regulation.1). Rudner found no difference in achievement according to whether or not a parent was certified to When segmented by gender. For those who would argue that only certified that boys are slightly better in math and girls are somewhat better teachers should be allowed to instruct their children at home. “What about socialization?” Data on home Considering this relatively small expenditure in light of the high school students’ activities and community involvement reveal that.1.

**Public school achievement data are based on 8th grade scores from Table 4 of The Virginia Assessment Program: Results for the 1995–1996 School Year (1996. . in general but the same detail of data was not available for all public schools. Office of Educational Research & Improvement.S.The minority groups were American Indian/Alaskan Native. The Virginia minority scores were weighted according to the proportions of minorities in this study of home schoolers to arrive at the numbers in this figure. What About the Gender Gap in Academics? 70 60 58 50 40 43 30 Boys Girls 10 Girls 20 1 80 84 79 70 60 50 52 40 48 30 20 10 Boys Girls 87 88 90 Girls 80 99 Boys 90 Boys Reading — Average National Percentile Rank* 99 Mathematics — Average National Percentile Rank* Figure 7. Department of Education. 1997) *See study for more detail about the non-equal-interval nature of a simple percentile scale which has distortion especially near the ends of the scale. November). National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) trends in academic progress [trends report and appendices].VA: Virginia Department of Education. DC: U.Washington. Public school achievement data are similar for the U. Home school data are for grades K–12. black.0 — Race Relationship to Reading and Math Test Scores 70 60 61 50 49 40 30 White Minority 10 Minority 20 1 80 82 77 70 60 60 50 50 40 30 20 10 White Minority 87 87 90 Minority 80 99 White Mathematics — Average National Percentile Rank* 90 White Reading — Average National Percentile Rank* 99 1 Home School Reading Scores VA Public School Reading Scores** Home School Math Scores VA Public School Math Scores** Footnotes: (Ray.How Do Minorities Fare in Home Education? Figure 6. Office of Educational Research & Improvement.S. Richmond. 1997) *See study for more detail about the non-equal-interval nature of a simple percentile scale which has distortion especially near the ends of the scale. Department of Education.S. and Hispanic. **Public school achievement data are for eighth grade based on tables from the U.0 — Gender Relationship to Reading and Math Test Scores 1 Home School Reading Scores Public School Reading Scores** Home School Math Scores Public School Math Scores** Footnotes: (Ray. Department of Education.S. about 63% were black or Hispanic. July). National Center for Education Statistics (1996. Home school data are for grades K–12. DC: U. Of home school minority students tested in this study. Asian/Pacific Islander. Department of Education. See U. National Center for Education Statistics (1996.Washington. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) trends in academic progress [trends report and appendices]. November).S.

D. This was the largest and most comprehensive study on home schooling to that point.S. Rudner holds a Ph.edu/epaa/v7n8/ c 2001 Home School Legal Defense Association • P. and provides speaker services.” See Table 8 in study. Dr. serves as a clearinghouse of information for researchers.hslda. Ph. see Education Policy Analysis Archives at http://epaa. Brian D. an MBA in Finance (1991). and a classroom teacher. 1999.402 home school students from 1. NHERI conducts basic data gathering research. University of Maryland in College Park. About the Research Strengths of Their Own—Home Schoolers Across America: Academic Achievement. Box 3000 • Purcellville. Some surveys were mailed directly to families (those randomly selected from numerous mailing lists and longitudinal participants from a 1990 study). All participants took the same tests: the Iowa Test of Basic Skills for grades K–8 and the Tests of Achievement and Proficiency for grades 9–12. families. His two children attend public school. has an M. The full study is available from NHERI for $8. Grades K–12 8 Scouts 10 Ballet/Dance Classes 14 4-H Volunteer Work 33 Ministry 34 35 Bible Clubs Classes Outside Home 42 Music Classes 47 Group Sports 48 Sunday School Field Trips Play with People Outside the Family Other 25 is Mean number 5. Lawrence M.O. VA 20134 • www. he has been the director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation. 1997 (book). having served as a university professor. Lawrence M. in Educational Psychology (1977). Family Characteristics. academic. Brian D. He holds a Ph.O. both published by the Riverside Publishing Company. refereed journal Home School Researcher. a branch chief in the U. Ray collected data on 5.657 families for the 1994–95 and 1995–96 academic years..S.D. Ph. 1997) *Participation in two or more of the 12 activities does not include “other activities.D.asu.What about Socialization? Figure 8. Ray. families chose to participate before they knew their children’s test scores.2 activities per student. is president of the National Home Education Research Institute.nheri. For a copy of the full report.D. minimizing the possibility of selective reporting. and lifetime teaching certificates from two states. in science education from Oregon State University. Rudner and commissioned by HSLDA. Others were blindly forwarded to families through the leadership of independent home school support groups and networks in every state.org Unlike any previous study. Rudner. Ray. and the public at large. Department of Education.S. policy makers. plus $2 shipping. Nearly 6.000 surveys were sent to home school families. National Home Education Research Institute P. Dr. The Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998. Lawrence M. He has been involved in quantitative analysis for over 30 years. this study involved seven times as many families as any previous study of its kind: 20. and has been a professor and classroom teacher. For the past 14 years. Conducted by Dr.0 — Home Schoolers’ Activities and Community Involvement Home School Students’ Activities. Box 13939 • Salem. Brian D. and Longitudinal Traits. in zoology (1979). home educators.760 students in 11.org . is with the College of Library and Information Services.95. Rudner..930 U. NHERI also publishes research reports and the unique. 77 84 87 Involved in Two or More Activities* 0 10 20 30 98 40 50 60 70 Percent of Students Involved 80 90 100 Footnote: (Ray. legislators. attorneys. Oregon 97309 phone: 503-364-1490 web: www.