Homeschooled in College with Higher SAT Scores

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  • 8/12/2019 Homeschooled in College with Higher SAT Scores


    Homeschooled in College With Higher SAT Scores

    By Dr. Brian D. Ray

    Are you comparing apples to apples or apples to mangoes? Are only the children of

    handsome, beautiful, genetically endowed, hardworking, and highly motivated parentsinvolved in research on homeschooling? So ask some serious critics of researchers who

    continually find positive things related to home-based education.

    Researchers keep trying to find ways to control the variables. They want to know:Controlling for this variable and that, do the home-educated do worse, the same, or better

    academically than students in institutional schooling? They want to make sure they are

    comparing oranges to orangesand not to pineapples.

    Dr. Dale Clemente added her piece to the mosaic while studying students in college. The

    purpose of her study was to determine whether there was a difference in academic

    achievement and college aptitude of home-educated high school seniors attending Christiancolleges and universities, when compared to their conventionally schooled counterparts.1

    Her measure of achievement and aptitude was the SAT (formerly called the Scholastic

    Aptitude Test).

    FindingsAll the students in the researchers studywhether homeschooled, public schooled, or

    private institutional schooledwere attending Christian colleges. This similarityguaranteed, in a sense, that they were more like one another than if she had drawn them

    from state (public) universities. When a researcher cannot randomly assign people (e.g., K12 students) to treatmentssuch as homeschooling, public schooling, and private

    schoolingshe needs to find ways to make them similar on various traits (e.g., family

    income, religious beliefs, parental education level) if meaningful contrasts are going to bemade regarding a key variable like type of schooling. Sampling from Christian colleges and

    universities meant it was more likely Dr. Clemente was comparing college students from a

    homeschooling background to other college students with similar backgrounds except for

    their type of grades K12 schooling experience (e.g., from state/public and privateinstitutional schools).

    The researcher analyzed the SAT scores of 1,792 public, 945 private, and 222homeschooled college students (N = 2,959). These were comprised of 1,441 males and

    1,518 females, yielding a total of 2,959 test scores.

    Careful statistical analyses revealed that the mean rank of homeschooled students washigher than their public-schooled or private-schooled counterparts. Although the private-

    schooled students placed second of the three groups, the difference between public-

    schooled and private-schooled students was not statistically significant.

    ConclusionsTo her credit, Dr. Clemente pointed out certain limitations of her study. For example, sheconsidered only SAT scores but thought it would be helpful to also consider other indicatorsof achievement or aptitude such as grade point average. Second, she was not able to

    ascertain for how many years of his or her grades K to 12 each college student had been inpublic school, private school, or homeschooling. Also, the researcher pointed out that hercausal-comparative design only suggests that there might be a cause-and-effectrelationship between homeschooling and higher scores, and that her design does not allow

    for a conclusive statement about causation.The following is one of Dr. Clementes significant conclusions:

  • 8/12/2019 Homeschooled in College with Higher SAT Scores


    This study does not and cannot prove that homeschooling causes students to

    perform better academically or be better prepared for college. However, it does

    suggest that homeschool parents have proven themselves up to the task. . . . Aplethora of evidence paints a vivid picture of children and adults who have greatly

    benefited from this scorned method of delivering academics to young people. (p.46)

    Dr. Clementes research findings are consistent with the bulk of studies done and data sets

    available to date on adults who were home educated. For example, the publishers of theSAT and of the ACT (formerly called American College Testing) reported for several years, in

    the early 2000s, that the home educated were scoring well above public-school students

    who took these two different tests that are widely used by college admissions offices indetermining who will be allowed to enroll.

    The researcher ultimately challenged academics and educators to ask some more deeplyphilosophical and pedagogical questions regarding parent-led, home-based education. Herown study and her review of other research lead Dr. Clemente to see positive things

    associated with homeschooling. Along these lines, she posed the following questions and


    To continue to mitigate these findings [e.g., a strong academic education for the

    home educated] with myriad questions surrounding socialization issues (and doing soby the way, unsuccessfully), begs the question: have homeschool educators latchedonto something we should be paying attention to, and, if so, what? Continuing to

    pour resources into antagonizing this group of individuals, as well as attempting to

    discredit their methods and/or motives will in all likelihood, continue to prove futile.(47)

    Dr. Clemente is likely on to something important. It might behoove more academics andpolicymakers in the field of education to pay attention to this researchers workand otherresearch on homeschooling.2

    More research on How do the home educated perform in the real world of adulthood? willlikely tell us more about this over the next few years.

    Endnotes:1. Clemente, Dale. (2006).Academic Achievement and College Aptitude in HomeschooledHigh School Students Compared to Their Private-schooled and Public-schooled Counterparts.

    Doctoral dissertation, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

    2. For examples: Ray, Brian D. (2010, February 3).Academic Achievement andDemographic Traits of Homeschool Students: A Nationwide Study.Academic LeadershipJournal, 8(1). Retrieved February 10, 2010 from (Accessed June, 2012)

    Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., is president of the National Home Education Research Institute, a

    nonprofit research and education organization. Dr. Ray often serves as an expert witness incourts, testifies to legislatures, and is interviewed by the media. Brian is married to Betsy

    and they have eight children and four grandchildren.

    Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared inthe June 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, the family education magazine.

    Read the magazine free atwww.TOSMagazine.comor read it on the go and download the

    free apps atwww.TOSApps.comto read the magazine on your mobile devices.


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