Dr. Michael Cogan, Director of the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis at the University of St. Thomas in
Minnesota, compared home-educated
students to those from conventional-school (i.e., non-homeschooling) backgrounds at one Midwest university.
The researcher reported that the “. . .
institution participating in the study is a
medium-sized private university with a
Carnegie Classification of doctoral. The
institution is located in a metropolitan
area in the upper Midwest. The overall student population is nearly 11,000
with approximately 57 percent classified
as undergraduates” (p. 21). Seventy-six
students who were home educated were
compared to the others.
Cogan focused on four academic outcome measures (or dependent variables):
the students’ first-year GPA, fourth-year
GPA, fall-to-fall retention, and four-year graduation. Independent or control
variables included socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic minority status, gender, and whether the student had been
The homeschool variable did not
significantly contribute to the fall-
to-fall retention or four-year gradu-
ation models . . . . In other words,
the homeschool variable had neither
a positive nor a negative impact on
these academic outcomes. However,
homeschool students did achieve a
higher retention rate ( 88. 6 percent)
compared to the overall popula-
tion ( 87. 6 percent). Further, home-
school students achieved a higher
graduation rate ( 66. 7 percent) when
compared to the overall population
( 57. 5 percent)” (p. 24).
Dr. Brian Ray wrote the following in 2004
in The Journal of College Admissions:
Experience and anecdotes have led
many people to believe that home-
school parents were either move-to-
the-country anarchist goat-herders or
right-wing Bible-thumpers, and their
children were either mathematically-
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The researcher used bivariate and multivariate analyses to consider the data.
What did Dr. Cogan find? First, he reported their GPAs (grade point averages): “Homeschooled students ( 3. 37)
earned a significantly higher fall semester
GPA when compared to the overall cohort ( 3.08). . . . Homeschooled students
( 3. 41) earned a higher first-year GPA
when compared to the overall group
( 3. 12). Additionally, homeschooled students ( 3. 46) earned a significantly higher
fourth-year GPA when compared to the
freshman cohort ( 3. 16)” (p. 24).
Next, the scholar then went to greater
lengths to statistically control for certain variables: “As stated earlier, an additional approach to understanding
academic outcomes of homeschooled
students is to conduct multivariate analysis in order to control for additional
factors. More specifically, students were
identified based on their enrollment in
a homeschool. . . . When considering
GPAs, the homeschool variable had a
positive impact on first-year GPA when
considering all of the factors. This positive impact continued to the fourth year
. . .” (p. 24).
Finally, a last detailed look revealed
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