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June 24, 2016

How Today’s Homeschoolers are Doing on the SAT

How Today’s Homeschoolers are Doing on the SAT

Andrew Mullins,
Deputy Director, HSLDA Federal Relations


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Are homeschooled students academically competitive with their peers in brick-and-mortar schools? For the first time in several years, families will have a clearer answer to this question, thanks to recent findings by the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI).

Andrew Mullins ANDREW MULLINS Federal Relations deputy director

In 2014, around 1.7 million students (mostly high school juniors and seniors) participated in the SAT exam. Administered by the College Board, the SAT is a reasoning test that assesses college-bound students in three main subjects: critical reading, mathematics, and writing. The SAT and the ACT are considered to make up the vast majority of college entrance exams for American students.

NHERI found that 13,549 homeschool seniors participated in the 2014 SAT. Of those seniors, homeschoolers scored an average of 567 in critical reading, 521 in mathematics, and 535 in writing. In comparison, the average SAT scores for all 2014 high school seniors were 497 in critical reading, 513 in mathematics, and 487 in writing.

It is worth noting that thorough analysis has not been conducted to predict if any other variables (such as demographics, income, and parent’s education) might be responsible for the above-average homeschool scores. However, this data strongly correlates with score trends seen in prior SAT and ACT research.

While there is definitely more to successful academics than standardized test performances, 2014’s SAT scores demonstrate that today’s homeschooled students are among the best and brightest students in the United States.

It is little wonder, then, that the popularity of homeschooling has exploded in recent years. The total number of homeschoolers has risen from 1.1 million in 2003 to somewhere between 1.8 and 2.1 million students today. While homeschooled students still only make up about 3–4% of the entire student population, parents are increasingly turning to homeschooling as a worthy academic alternative to traditional school systems.

Research demonstrating the academic ability of homeschooled students is important in establishing homeschooling as a viable and robust form of education. As homeschooling grows and homeschooled students make up an increasing percentage of the college and workforce population, HSLDA will continue to lead the charge in the fight against discrimination.