Homeschooled With Higher SAT Scores
Sent Wednesday, February 22, 2012View as plaintext
, from NHERI.
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?
Dale Clemente added her piece to the puzzle 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
Christian colleges and universities, when compared to
their conventionally schooled counterparts. [note 1] Her measure of
achievement and aptitude was the SAT (formerly called the Scholastic Aptitude Test).
The fact that all the students in the researcher's study - whether
homeschooled, public schooled, or private institutional schooled - were
attending Christian colleges guaranteed, 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., K-12 students) to "treatments" -
such as homeschooling, public schooling, and private schooling - she 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 be made regarding a key variable like type of schooling. Sampling from
Christian colleges and universities likely meant Dr. Clemente was comparing
apples to apples, and not to oranges.
researcher analyzed the SAT scores of 1,792 public, 945 private, and 222 homeschooled
college student (N = 2,959). These were comprised of 1,441 males and 1,518 females, yielding a total of 2959 test
Statistical analyses revealed that the mean rank of homeschooled students was higher 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 statisticallysignificant.
Dr. Clemente pointed out certain limitations of her study. For
example, she only considered SAT scores and thought it would be helpful to also
consider other indicators of achievement or aptitude such as grade point
average. Second, she was not able to ascertain for how many years of their grades
K to 12 each college student had been in public school, private school, or
homeschooling. Also, the researcher pointed out that her causal-comparative
design only suggests that there might be a cause-and-effect relationship
between homeschooling and higher scores, and that her design does not allow for
a conclusive statement about causation.
One of Dr. Clemente's conclusions follows:
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. ..... A plethora 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)
the end, the researcher challenges academics and educators to ask some more
deeply philosophical and pedagogical questions regarding parent-led home-based
education. Her own study and her review of other research leads Dr. Clemente to
see positive things associated with homeschooling. Along these lines, she poses
the following questions and comments:
To continue to mitigate these findings [e.g.,
a strong academic education for the home educated] with myriad questions surrounding socialization issues
(and doing so by the way, unsuccessfully), begs the question: have homeschool
educators latched onto 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)
appears that this researcher is on to something important. It might behoove more
academics and policymakers in the field of education to pay attention to Dr.
Clemente and other research on homeschooling. [note 2]
P.S. Please feel free to send us your questions about homeschooling and we will
try to answer them in upcoming messages.
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1. Clemente, Dale. (2006). Academic
achievement and college aptitude in homeschooled high school students compared
to their private-schooled and public-schooled counterparts. Doctoral
(Ed.D.) dissertation, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia.