Academic journal article School Community Journal

Academic Achievement of Homeschool and Public School Students and Student Perception of Parent Involvement

Academic journal article School Community Journal

Academic Achievement of Homeschool and Public School Students and Student Perception of Parent Involvement

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a survey of 127 seniors in a diverse suburban high school to determine the impact of the subjects' perceptions of parent involvement on their levels of achievement as measured by the standardized national ACT test. Independent-samples t tests were then used to assess whether there were any differences in achievement as reported in national test scores among students with a perception of a high level of parent involvement, students with a perception of a low level of parent involvement, and homeschool students. The findings of the study were that the perception of a high level of parent involvement does have a significant impact upon achievement. Students who perceived a high level of parent involvement performed significantly better on the national ACT exam than students who perceived a low level of parent involvement. There was no difference in academic achievement between public school students who perceived a high level of parent involvement and homeschool students.

Key Words: parent involvement, academic achievement, homeschool students, high school students, student perceptions

Introduction

According to data from the 1999 Parent Survey of the National Household Education Surveys Program, a study by the U.S. Department of Education, the number of homeschool students has risen from 360,000 in 1994 to 850,000 by 1999 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2001), with many experts placing that figure closer to 2 million (Bielick, Chandler, & Broughman, 2001; Ray, 1997). In addition, the author of a recent study has reported that the academic achievement of these homeschool students on the national ACT is higher than that of public school students (Rudner, 1999). A recent article in a professional education journal, Educational Leadership, stated that the number of homeschool students was up dramatically, with the National Home Education Research Institute estimating between 1.7 million and 2.1 million last school year, up from 1.2 million in 1996. Their ACT college admission scores are also consistently above the national average (22.5 vs. 20.8 in 2003), and an education institute study of 5,400 homeschooled students found scores on standardized exams consistently above national averages in 1995 and 1996 (Ray, 2002). One of the limitations to this kind of comparison is the nature of the reporting of achievement. Homeschool student achievement results are voluntary and do not include all students, while the public school achievement results include all test takers. A second limitation involves the demographics of the homes in which the students live. One study reported that many of the variables that are common among homeschool families may influence academic achievement, such as higher income, religious faith, and a higher incidence of stay-at-home mothers (Rudner, 1999). Rudner himself cites this as a limitation to the comparisons with the achievement of public school students (1999).

Each of these variables-socioeconomic status, religious faith, stay-athome mothers, and parent involvement in education-can have an effect upon the academic achievement of students. Therefore, we sought to isolate one variable, parent involvement, to determine its impact upon the academic achievement of high school students. Although the schools cannot influence a family's income level, commitment to faith, or incidence of mothers staying at home full-time, they may be able to influence the involvement of parents in their child's education. This higher level of parent involvement is by definition evidenced in homeschool students' lives (Lines, 2002). Because of this, our research focused on the perception of parent involvement of public high school students.

Review of the Literature

The review of the literature did not reveal any studies comparing academic achievement for homeschool students and public school students dependent upon perceived levels of parent involvement. …

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