Homeschooling Regulations Do Not Affect Quality of Education, Study Says

Homeschooling advocates have been arguing this for years: the level of regulation on homeschoolers does not affect the quality of education they receive.

A new study by Brian D. Ray and Bruce K. Eagleson argues that based on analysis of SAT scores nationwide, there is no statistical difference between homeschoolers’ test scores and the test scores of the other students.

What’s your take on this study? Is this a study that can be effectively used to back up the claim that homeschooling regulations do not have a direct effect on quality of education?

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6 Responses to “Homeschooling Regulations Do Not Affect Quality of Education, Study Says”

  1. christine Says:

    Well, studies have to have something tangible on which to evaluate results. That will almost always have to come from test scores of some kind.

    Yet, those of us educating at home know the reality. You can’t capture the experience on paper. You just can’t.

    However, to make our point, I think we’ll have to rely on studies like this.

  2. Tammy Takahashi Says:

    My worry, however, is that if we rely on these kinds of studies, do they actually prove our point? For example, SAT test takers are self-selected. Generally, only those who are college bound and have a strong educational background will take the test. Also, homeschool regulations are never meant to “help” the families whose children are SAT bound. They are meant to maintain a “bare minimum”, which the SAT certainly doesn’t quantify.

    Granted, tests are a poor way to indicate educational success – hence the reason many people choose to homeschool. But if we use tests to prove our points, we should be ready for the critics.

    Lastly, I recognize that most people will not ever dig deep and ask how this study was done. A simple, “Studies show that homeschoolers’ educational success does not improve with increased regulations (Ray and Eagleson, 2008),” will be enough to make the point. This digging deeper on my part is because I want to make sure that if I use this study’s results in an argument, I also recognize its weaknesses.

  3. Anna Says:

    I was going to go a different direction with the SAT scores. In Indiana, almost everyone takes the test, not just college-bound students.

    The point is the same though….the SAT is not really a good measure for either side’s academic abilities.

  4. boremetotears Says:

    My worry, however, is that if we rely on these kinds of studies, do they actually prove our point? For example, SAT test takers are self-selected.

    Great point. Generally, it has been my sense that standardized test-taking is voluntary for many homeschoolers. (It is for me here in California, for example.) As a new homeschooler, I was taught to site these studies as *proof* that homeschooling *works* but, as you suggest, some (most?, all?) studies use self-selected subjects. From what I’ve read, some have even drawn from groups of HSLDA affiliated “school-at-homers,” who would be expected to perform well on stardardized tests.

    It has never made sense to me why an unschooled child, for instance, would be expected to do as well on a test that a public school child has spent the bulk of their time *preparing for.* It’s just not logical 🙂 I wish we’d just drop the “our kids score better than yours” stuff because I’m not confident that it would truly be the case if we were all testing.

  5. boremetotears Says:

    Ooops. “Cite,” not “site.” 🙂

  6. boremetotears Says:

    I just came across a blog post about Brian Ray’s research and remembered yours here. Actually, you may already be familiar with Milton Gaither’s blog where he has posted a series about NHERI research.

    If interested, here’s one link:
    http://gaither.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/brian-d-ray-and-nheri-part-2/#more-446

    Sorry. I don’t want to monopolize this thread 😦


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