Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Sherry Herron

Committee Chair School

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Member 2

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 2 School

Education

Committee Member 3

Dr. Mac Alford

Committee Member 3 School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Member 4

Dr. Christopher Sirola

Committee Member 4 School

Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Committee Member 5

Dr. Carlos Alvarez

Abstract

Previous research has indicated that homeschooling is a growing trend within the U.S. Previous research has also indicated that less than one half of students who begin a STEM major at postsecondary institutions will complete their degree. This study sought to look at the possible moderating effect homeschooling has on the academic achievement and retention of STEM majors at a private, faith-based liberal arts college using a modified version of Tinto’s Model of Student Departure.

Independent sample t-tests were used to compare means and intercorrelations of homeschooled students and traditionally schooled students in unmatched and matched samples for several academic achievement variables, retention from freshman to sophomore year within a STEM major, and graduation within six years with a STEM degree. Results demonstrated the importance of using matched samples as significant mean differences changed when the matched samples were analyzed compared to the unmatched samples. Results also demonstrated that homeschoolers scored means that were higher than traditionally schooled students on all variables for both the unmatched and matched samples, but the means were only significantly different for freshman GPA

Regression analyses results indicated that for all ACT scores were significant outcome predictors for first year and graduation academic achievement, retention within a STEM major from freshman to sophomore year, and graduation within six years with a STEM degree, but high school type was not. The moderating effect of homeschooling on relationship between ACT scores and these outcome variables was also assessed. The only time homeschooling demonstrated a moderating effect was on the relationship of ACT scores as predictors of freshman GPA and ACT scores as predictors of freshman GPA of STEM courses.

Regression analyses also found that freshman academic achievement values were significant outcome predictors of graduation academic achievement and graduation within six years with a STEM degree, but high school type was not. The only time homeschooling demonstrated a moderating effect was on the relationship of freshman GPA values as predictors of graduation GPA.

These results provide initial indication that homeschoolers are prepared for STEM studies at institution of higher learning. However, more studies are needed for verification.

ORCID ID

0000-0002-1768-8409

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