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How do home schoolers measure up?
· Median Composite Scores
· Grade Level
· Grade Equivalent
· Scores by Academic Setting
· Rankings Based on Gender
· Rank on Parent Certification

Who home schools?
· Academic Achievement
· Income
· Family Size
· Marital Status
· Daily Television Viewing
· Money Spent per Student

Why are home schoolers succeeding?

The study
The researcher

The following is a summary of...
The Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998, by Lawrence M. Rudner, Ph.D. A copy of the full report can be found here or, see the peer-reviewd online journal Education Policy Analysis Archives at

All photos by
Rebekah A. Parker © 1999

the study and the researcher

About the study
    Bob Jones University Press Testing and Evaluation Service, the largest home school testing service in the nation, provides Assessment services to home school students and private schools on a fee-for-service basis. In Spring 1998, 39,607 home school students were contracted to take the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS, grades K–8) or the Tests of Achievement and Proficiency (TAP, grades 9–12). Both the ITBS and TAP are published by Riverside Publishing Company and were developed after careful review of national and state curricula and standards.
    BJUP certified the test administrators, many of whom were the students’ parents. Students were given an achievement test, and their parents were asked to complete a questionnaire entitled “Voluntary Home School Demographic Survey.” This questionnaire, designed by the researcher and staff of Home School Legal Defense Association, was significantly shorter than previous survey instruments. It posed all questions in an objective format, rather than a constructed response format. National Computer Systems was commissioned to publish the questionnaire on computer scannable forms, removing the need for manual data processing.
    Parents returned the completed tests and questionnaires to BJUP. The tests were then bundled and sent to Riverside Publishers for machine scoring, and the questionnaires were bundled and sent to National Computer Systems for scanning. Unlike previous studies, the parents did not know their children’s scores before agreeing to participate in this study.
    Electronic copies of 23,415 test results and 23,311 questionnaire results were then sent to Dr. Lawrence Rudner. A total of 20,760 students in 11,930 families provided useable questionnaires with corresponding achievement tests. The achievement test and questionnaire results were combined to form the dataset used in this analysis. The resulting report, Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Educational Policy Analysis Archives (

About the researcher
    Dr. Lawrence M. Rudner is with the College of Library and Information Services, University of Maryland in College Park. He has been involved in quantitative analysis for over 30 years, having served as a university professor, a branch chief in the U.S. Department of Education, and a classroom teacher. For the past 12 years, he has been the Director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation. ERIC is an information service sponsored by the National Library of Education, U.S. Department of Education, which acquires and abstracts articles and manuscripts pertaining to all aspects of education; builds and maintains on-line databases; publishes articles and books; and provides a wide range of user services. Dr. Rudner holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (1977), an MBA in Finance (1991), and lifetime teaching certificates from two states. His two children attend public school.

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