Tuesday, August 04, 2009

AR Home School & Public School Scores Compared

Home School Scores are higher in every gradel level on Reading Scores

Home schooled students are required to take a nationally normed test that compares them to students across the nation in the same grade levels as the public schools take, grade 3 through 9. The nationally normed test they take is chosen by the Arkansas Department of Education. Keep in mind that the home schooled students take the test cold turkey, the way these tests were designed to be taken; and the way many of us adults took them.

According to the Home School Director at ADE, the Department of Education does nothing to prepare home schooled students for the tests. In public education there is a great deal of preparation. In addition, teachers give the "practice" type tests and are able to see specific types of items on the test which gives them a great advantage.

When the state first started putting emphasis on test scores, I was teaching 7th grade. Our superintendent handed out in the fall during a teachers' meeting, a previous edition of the test we were to take in the spring and allowed all teachers to read over it (he gave us 20 to 30 minutes to do so). I was able to improve my 7th grade language scores from five to ten percentage points in all classes from just looking at the test and seeing what they included, what they did not include; and the format of the questions. So home school students are definitely at a disadvantage.

In 2008 home school students had the following scores on the nationally normed test that they are required to take. (The 2009 scores for home school students are not yet in for this year. )

Following is a comparison of Reading Scores for Home School Students and Public Schools in 2008 on a nationally normed test

Reading 2008
3rd Grade: Home School - 61% Public school 48%
4th Grade: Home School - 66% Public school 64%
5th Grade: Home School - 65% Public school 56%
6th Grade: Home School - 62% Public school 46%
7th Grade: Home School - 62% Public school 53%
8th Grade: Home School - 60% Public school 53%
9th Grade: Home School - 61% Public school 53%

Home schooled students and public school students did take a different nationally normed test in 2008 and 2009, but that decision was made by ADE, not the home schoolers. The last year home school and public school students took the same test was in 2005. In that year home schooled students had higher scores in Reading in all grades but one. In 3rd grade the reading score for home schoolers was one point below public school. However, home school scores in math were lower than public schools.

There has been a trend in modern education even on nationally normed tests to move from the basics in math to interpreting tables, charts, data, and probability, etc. I believe this is the reason that math scores for home schoolers are lower than public school scores. Home schoolers still teach a traditional math curriculum. Home school scores and law can be found at this link: http://www.arkansased.org/schools/pdf/hs_report_07-08_081908.pdf Public school scores can be found in table above and at this link: http://arkansased.org/communications/pdf/assessment_071309.pdf

Most teachers of home school students (parents) don't even have a college education; they have not had the so called benefit of staff development, the rich resources the state is now providing, and they cost the state nothing.

If the state had left the educational system in the hands of the teachers instead of the experts, our educational system would be far superior to what it is now, and we would have saved several billion dollars. Neither would we be to the point of moving into the type of international education that Obama is promoting as the centerpiece of his educational program. See next post for this article.


Anonymous Skeptic said...

Home schoolers beat public schoolers for a very simple reason: K-12 education ain't (isn't) rocket science, but public school Grand-Poobahs have made it so. Home schoolers stick to the basics, teaching reading, writing & arithmetic, likes schools are supposed to do. They don't engage in the politically correct nonsense of celebrating diversity, developing self-esteem, environmentalism, and the "staff development" of which you speak. It's really quite simple, but when you have millions & millions to spend like the public schools do, you can bring in the so-called "experts", "consultants" and other educantos to, quite literally, fog up the simplicity with statistical data proving whatever they want it to prove, coming up with "new" teaching & learning methods, and thus keeping the well-paying jobs for themselves and all their academic cronies.
Education in Arkansas is vastly over-funded, and therefore, vastly under-performing.

1:04 PM, August 05, 2009  
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