Record: Gene W. Gloeckner and Paul Jones, “Reflections on a Decade of Changes in Homeschooling and the Homeschooled into Higher Education,” Peabody Journal of Education 88, no. 3 (2013): 309-323.
Summary: Gloeckner, an education professor at Colorado State University, and Jones, interim president of Georgia College and State University, here revisit the two questions they first addressed in two widely cited 2004 pieces about homeschooling and higher education, both published in the special issue dedicated to that theme by the Journal of College Admission. The questions concerned 1. the success of homeschooled students in college when compared with students from conventional schools, and 2. the perception of admissions officers about homeschooled applicants.
For the first question they summarize the results of a few recent studies (including those of Snyder and Cogan) of homeschooler performance in college relative to their conventionally-schooled peers. In all studies the homeschooled performed either equal to or better than students with other educational backgrounds. Gloeckner and Jones acknowledge that the original studies do not claim causality and have caveats, but the basic point stands that in every study looking at homeschooling and academic achievement in college the homeschoolers are doing well.
For the second question Gloeckner and Jones sent out a survey to 159 admissions officers representing colleges and universities in the Western and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States (including Hawaii). They got 55 back, a 35% response rate, representing a diverse group of institutions public and private, religious and non-religious.
Gloeckner and Jones fond that most schools (75%) have a policy for homeschooled applicants. The specifics of these policies differed, but most schools required something to prove that homeschooled applicants were college-ready, including ACT or SAT scores, an essay, GED scores, letters of recommendation, and in some cases a personal interview and/or a portfolio. Four of the officers claimed that their institutions did not accept homeschooled applicants.
As for attitudes toward homeschooling, 78% of those surveyed believed that homeschoolers were likely to be as successful as or more successful than conventionally-schooled applicants in college. Only two of the 55 thought homeschoolers were likely to do worse. A similar spread was found for perceptions of retention rates, first year GPA, and other measures. The only exception was the question of socialization. 45% of those surveyed thought homeschoolers would do as well or better socially but 35% thought they wouldn’t. The rest didn’t know or didn’t answer.
Gloeckner and Jones summarize, “Overall, the attitudes and perceptions of admissions officers proved favorable toward the expected success of the homeschooled graduate.” (p. 320). Officers at private, secular institutions were more likely than large public institutions or religious institutions to have negative attitudes, though even here attitudes are much more positive than they were decades ago when the first surveys of this kind were conducted.
Appraisal: With the exception of some bad history in parts of the paper, this is on the whole a decent summary of what little research there is on the academic success of homeschoolers in college and a competent if not path breaking survey of admissions officers. For a more comprehensive review of the literature see section 9 of this recent piece, written by Rob Kunzman and me. One of the points we make there is that some qualitative literature suggests that some admissions officers might harbor more negative views of homeschooling in private than they would ever express on a survey. But in general Gloeckner and Jones found this time just what they found in 2004 and what others have found as well, that homeschoolers do well in college and that most colleges are glad to admit them.