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Update on Test Scores

Well, a few days ago, I talked about homeschooling test scores, and I’ve been wanting to revisit the subject. My Internet research below is by no means official, but here is my best stab:

  • HSLDA has a great article on the encouraging statistics of homeschoolers. One of the best quotes: “A significant finding when analyzing the data for 8th graders was the evidence that homeschoolers who are homeschooled two or more years score substantially higher than students who have been homeschooled one year or less… The homeschoolers who have homeschooled all their school aged years had the highest academic achievement. This was especially apparent in the higher grades. This is a good encouragement to families catch the long-range vision and homeschool through high school.” Yes, that is encouraging!
  • An incredibly interesting survey of all types of homeschooling characteristics can be found on the EPAA site. (EPAA stands for Education Policy Analysis Archives.)

It appears that private schools do not have to publish how well their students do on standardized tests, in contrast with public and homeschooled students. So it’s a little tough to find good information to compare private school students with homeschoolers. But here are some things I found:

  • A private Christian school in Indiana publishes its students’ test results. Their students did just as good as homeschoolers, when compared to results listed at this website.
  • Pensacola Christian School (I’m using them as an example because I use their curriculum with our kids, plus they happen to be one of the few schools who advertise their test scores) boasts: “Our 1st–8th grade classes average over 1 1/2 yrs. above grade level on national achievement tests, and our 9th–12th students average post high school.”
  • The Florida Association of Christian Colleges and School’s website seems to indicate that private school test scores are very similar to homeschool test scores. Like homeschoolers, the scores seem to increase in the higher grades.

Okay, I never said my little report was very scientific. To be honest, I’m not very sure where to get good information. (Anyone want to comment?)

So what’s my point? If I think private schools are so great, then why am I homeschooling? Well, I never said they were great. I’m a graduate of one myself, and while I loved my school, there are some definite drawbacks. First of all, how can any school, public or private, compete with the one-on-one personal tutoring that a homeschooled student receives. Secondly, and more importantly, educational quality isn’t anywhere near the top reason why I homeschool. I am far more concerned with what teachers are adding to the curriculum with their worldview and mindset, and I’m also terribly concerned about the influence of peers on my children. I praise God for the opportunity to homeschool.

However, sometimes I think that homeschoolers could do even better. I don’t want us to sit back on our laurels and think that simply because our kids are home with us means that they will automatically get a good education.

It comes down to what our goals are as we educate our children. But that’s a topic for another time. It’s way past my bedtime! 🙂

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