The Tennessee State Board of Education recently decided home school diplomas aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Blue Collar Muse has the full story, but the board said they didn't know what curriculum the student had studied and what courses were completed.
Most colleges and universities consider a variety of diplomas when they screen potential students. The ACT score is a big factor. But numeorus public education high schools have such a wide range of course content and graduation requirements, that they often send a profile of the school along with the student's transcripts. Some high schools weight Advanced Placement courses and others do not.
So the Tennessee Board of Education deciding that home schooled high school diplomas aren't valid really doesn't make any sense at all. All a diploma does is designate that a student has satisfied the requirements for a particular school. The real meaning of a diploma is fleshed out in the ACT score.
Here's what Blue Collar Muse reports:
An ERIC digest titled 'The Scholastic Achievement of Home Schooled Students’ from September of 1999 found the following:
Almost 25% of home school students were enrolled one or more grades above their age-level peers in public and private schools.
Home school student achievement test scores were exceptionally high. The median scores for every subtest at every grade (typically in the 70th to 80th percentile) were well above those of public and Catholic/Private school students.
On average, home school students in grades 1 to 4 performed one grade level above their age-level public/private school peers on achievement tests.
Students who had been home schooled their entire academic life had higher scholastic achievement test scores than students who had also attended other educational programs.
It further found,
Even with a conservative analysis of the data, the achievement levels of the home school students in the study were exceptional. Within each grade level and each skill area, the median scores for home school students fell between the 70th and 80th percentile of students nationwide and between the 60th and 70th percentile of Catholic/Private school students. For younger students, this is a one year lead. By the time home school students are in 8th grade, they are four years ahead of their public/private school counterparts.
The results are consistent with previous studies of the achievement of home school students.
Addressing our question of ACT scores, a long standing metric for determining academic success, the digest reports,
Home school students did quite well in 1998 on the ACT college entrance examination. They had an average ACT composite score of 22.8 which is .38 standard deviations above the national ACT average of 21.0 (ACT,1998). This places the average home school student in the 65th percentile of all ACT test takers.