Massachusetts Homeschool Organization of Parent Educators
"Promoting and safeguarding home education to the glory of God"


Massachusetts Home Education:  Information for Superintendents

Selected Research Relevant to Homeschooling

Last updated August 8, 2002

Homeschooling Comes of Age

The Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998

Strengths of Their Own -- Homeschoolers Across America

Parental Involvement

Parents' Literacy and Their Children's Success in School

The Case for Authentic Assessment

How Homeschooling Will Change Public Education

Homeschooling Comes of Age

by Patricia M.  Lines
The Public Interest July 1, 2000

General discussion of historical and current state of homeschooling in the US.

On test scores of homeschoolers (from the article):

When people ask -- How well do homeschoolers do? -- they usually want to know about test scores.  Of course, many homeschoolers reject this criterion, since their mission is to impart not simply skills but a particular set of values.  That said, virtually all of the reported data show that homeschooled children score above average, sometimes well above average.  Self-selection may affect this result, just as it affects other aspects of homeschooling research.  Further, even where state law requires testing, substantial numbers of homeschoolers do not comply.  Still, the available evidence suggests steady success.  For example, Alaska, which has tested children in its homeschooling program for several decades, finds them, as a group, above average.  In a very different study, commissioned by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), a conservative Christian organization, Lawrence Rudner of the University of Maryland collected and analyzed results from the 12,000 students nationwide who had used the Bob Jones University testing services.  The homeschooled children placed in the 62nd to 91st percentile of national norms, depending on the grade level and test subject area.  Of course, we don't know how these same children would do in school.  But there is certainly no evidence to suggest that homeschooling harms academic achievement. (emphasis added)
On whether parents need to have a certain educational attainment (from the article):
Significantly, a handful of studies suggest that student achievement for homeschoolers has no relation to the educational attainment of the homeschooling parent.  This is consistent with tutoring studies that indicate that the education level of a tutor has little to do with the achievement of a tutored child.  One explanation might be that the advantages of one-to-one learning outweigh the advantages of professional training. (emphasis added)

The Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998

by Lawrence M. Rudner, Ph.D. 

From the study:

Significantly, there was also no difference found according to whether or not a parent was certified to teach.

Strengths of Their Own—Home Schoolers Across America

A study performed by Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, and sponsored by the Home School Legal Defense Association.  A summary can be found on the NHERI website.  Go to "News" and look for 6/13/97.

From the study:

Several analyses were conducted to determine which independent variables were significantly related to academic achievement.  There was no significant relationship between achievement and (a) whether the father was a certified teacher, (b) whether the mother was a certified teacher, (c) family income, (d) money spent on education, (e) legal status of the family, (f) time spent in formal instruction, (g) age formal instruction began, and (h) degree of state regulation of home schooling.  Achievement was statistically significantly related, in some cases, to father's education level, mother's education level, gender of student, years home educated, use of libraries, who administered the test, and use of computers.  The relationships were, however, weak and not practically significant. 

This and other studies indicate that very few background variables (e.g., socioeconomic status of parents, regulation by the state) explain the academic achievement of the home educated.  It is possible that the home education environment ameliorates the effect of variables that are typically considered a detriment to students.  A variety of students in a variety of home education settings have performed very well in terms of academic achievement.

Parental Involvement

An article on the website of the College of Education and Human Endowment, University of Minnesota

From the article:

The research is overwhelmingly clear: When parents play a positive role in their children's education, children do better in school.  This is true whether parents are college-educated or grade school graduates and regardless of the family income, race, or ethnic background.  What counts is that parents have a positive attitude about the importance of a good education and that they express confidence their children will succeed.  Major benefits of parent involvement include higher grades and test scores, positive attitudes and behavior, more successful academic programs, and more effective schools." (San Diego, 1997)

Parents' Literacy and Their Children's Success in School

Recent Research, Promising Practices, and Research Implications

From the article:

Auerbach's work also shows that "indirect factors including frequency of children's outings with adults, number of maternal outings, emotional climate of the home, amount of time spent interacting with adults, level of financial stress, enrichment activities, and parental involvement with the schools had a stronger effect on many aspects of reading and writing than did direct literacy activities, such as help with homework" (Auerbach, 1989).

The Case for Authentic Assessment

ERIC Digest. 

From the article:

What most defenders of traditional tests fail to see is that it is the form, not the content of the test that is harmful to learning; demonstrations of the technical validity of standardized tests should not be the issue in the assessment reform debate.  Students come to believe that learning is cramming; teachers come to believe that tests are after-the-fact, imposed nuisances composed of contrived questions -- irrelevant to their intent and success.  Both parties are led to believe that right answers matter more than habits of mind and the justification of one's approach and results. 

A move toward more authentic tasks and outcomes thus improves teaching and learning: students have greater clarity about their obligations (and are asked to master more engaging tasks), and teachers can come to believe that assessment results are both meaningful and useful for improving instruction.

How Home Schooling Will Change Public Education

By Paul T.  Hill, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Governmental Studies Program
Hoover Digest, Summer 2000, No.  3

From the article:

Parents who decide to school their children at home commit time and energy to an activity that was once left to specialized professionals.  Even in the states with the most permissive home-schooling laws, parents must learn what is normally taught to children of a given age, find materials and projects that teach specific skills, and learn how to use their own time and that of their children productively. 

Even a casual perusal of the home-schooling literature reveals the scale and intensity of home-schooling parents' search for ideas, materials, and relevant standards of performance.

Home schooling is a very large teacher training program, and many tens of thousands of people are learning how to teach, assess results, and continuously improve instruction.  It also must be one of the biggest parent-training programs in the country.

Copyright 2001, 2002 by Massachusetts Home Learning Association and Massachusetts Homeschool Organization of Parent Educators.  Pages may be freely copied provided that the following sentence is included with any citation: Information for Superintendents is provided by MHLA ( and MassHOPE ( and can be found in its entirety at either one of those sites.

August 2002 edition

The information on this website does not constitute legal advice; it is provided for informational purposes only. 


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