The Creation Museum founder Ken Ham has a nasty habit of not linking to websites he trashes or offering citations when he makes his wacky claims.
So when he mentioned that home-schoolers excel in college, and provided a link to the reference, I got very excited.
The link goes to the Home School Legal Defense Association — a Christian group — and they have issued a press release about a new study!
Therefore, it was with great interest that we read the new study — Exploring Academic Outcomes of Homeschooled Students, by Michael F. Cogan — which shows homeschoolers succeeding in college.
Some of the major findings include:
- Homeschoolers scored higher on the ACT (26.5) compared with the overall student body (25).
- Homeschoolers earned more college credit (14.7) prior to their freshman year compared to the student body (6).
- Homeschooled students earned a higher fall semester GPA (3.37) when compared to other freshman students (3.08).
- Homeschooled students earned a higher first-year GPA (3.41) when compared to other freshman students (3.12).
- Homeschooled students earned a higher fourth-year GPA (3.46) when compared to other freshman students who completed their fourth year (3.16).
Sounds pretty strong. I have so many questions!
How many home-schooled students were used as data points?
How many states were represented in the study?
Where was this study published?
Here’s all I can find to answer those:
The study was based on a medium sized college located in the upper Midwest. The school has 11,000 students with an average 1,320 freshmen each year. The sample size for homeschoolers was 76 which is 1 percent of the 7,776 incoming freshman for 2004–2009. The majority of the student body (54.9%) identified themselves as Catholic.
In other words… Cogan went to one college — a private, Roman Catholic school in the midwest — and got the data for the 76 kids who, over the past six years, were home-schooled beforehand.
If I proposed this study in a Research Methods class, I would fail immediately.
This is likely an anomaly — who knows how many home-schooled children applied but didn’t get accepted into the school? What makes this school typical for all home-schooled college students? If anything, a private school of that size is going to draw in more affluent, better-educated kids overall.
And from the looks of it, this “study” wasn’t published anywhere.
At least we can read it for ourselves, right?
Of course not.
All you get is a link to Powerpoint slides (PDF) Cogan must have made to explain the findings.
I’m sure I’m missing something here. Am I being fair about this study? Am I forgetting to point something out? Is there a link to the study I’m missing?
For what it’s worth, I think home-schooling can work… but in too many cases, it deprives children of a fuller education and the opportunity to socialize with peers who may think differently. There’s often a hyper-focus on religion and a lack of focus on subjects the parents know little about. Even among atheist households, I get nervous when I hear that parents are home-schooling their children.
Some parents do it wonderfully, but in my experience, they are the exception and not the rule.