|Back to May Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 160||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||MAY 1999|
The scholastic achievement and demographic characteristics of more than 20,000 homeschool students were assessed by Dr. Lawrence M. Rudner, director of the Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation at the University of Maryland. All the students took the same national, norm-referenced tests - the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) for grades K-8, and the Tests of Achievement and Proficiency (TAP) for grades 9-12. The ITBS is used nationwide in many public and private schools.
Participating families agreed to be evaluated before their children's test scores were known, thereby reducing the "self-selection bias" factor that is often criticized in homeschool studies.
Other major findings include:
Author Rudner, who said in an appearance on C-Span that he is "personally a big supporter of the public schools," claims the study does not prove homeschooling is superior and should not be taken as criticism of public or private schools. He emphasizes that his research "simply shows that homeschooling works for those who make the commitment."
Other educators say homeschooling negatively impacts "social skills," but HSLDA president Michael Farris counters that there are no data to back up that theory.