Homeschoolers typically score higher as a group on standardized tests than their public school counterparts. Brian Ray of National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) has conducted multiple studies to verify the effectiveness of home education. In every one, homeschool students come out on top on a variety of measures. The average homeschool student scores about the 85th percentile with the IOWA or Stanford tests, while the average public school student comes in about the 50th percentile.
This is great news for families who may have doubters with whom to contend–those extended family members or neighbors who don’t think anything good can come out of homeschooling. Sometimes, hard, objective academic evidence, such as test scores, is needed to persuade those relatives that you really aren’t ruining the children, or depriving them of the best academic future by teaching them at home.
In Arizona, there is no testing required for homeschooling, even though the public schools require multiple assessments throughout the year. However, many parents like to have students tested for a variety of reasons:
- Test scores often provide evidence of the student’s knowledge, ability to take a test, and academic progress.
- Testing may be required in custody cases or by certain academic programs
- Scoring information can give parents insights into the student’s strengths and weaknesses and can be used in preparing the course for the following year.
- Students who return to public school can document their appropriate grade level with recognized assessment instruments
- Standardized test scores provide eligibility for the homeschool honor society, Eta Sigma Alph (ESA). (A composite score of 90th percentile or better on the IOWA or Stanford test qualifies junior and senior high school homeschoolers to join ESA.
- Some scholarships will ask for test scores.
- Parents can give themselves a pat on the back for the work that has been accomplished (and get bragging rights when their children surpass the typical public school student.)
When and where can homeschoolers get testing?
- Spring and summer tests are typically offered by some homeschool support groups
- Covenant Home School Resource Center in Phoenix administers the IOWA test March 15-16, 2011
- Qualified parents can administer the tests to their own students any time they would like.
- Holly Craw Home Education Services will provide the IOWA test April 18 and 21 in Scottsdale, and the Stanford test by appointment during the spring or summer.
If you would like more information about homeschoolers and the variety of tests, what they are used for, and when they are needed, please sign up for a detailed workshop which will cover standardized tests like the IOWA and Stanford, the AIMS test, college entrance tests, scholarship tests, and ways to get college credit by testing out of classes.
Contact me with any other questions you may have about homeschool testing.