Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version

Summer 7-2010

Document Type



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies, Under the Supervision of Professor Sheldon Stick. Lincoln, Nebraska: August 2010
Copyright 2010 Jack N. Bagwell, Jr.


In 2010, homeschooling was increasing in prevalence in the United States. Yet, little was known about the academic achievement of these students as they matriculated into colleges and universities. The purpose of this mixed methods sequential explanatory study was to examine the academic success achieved by the homeschooled population (N=273) and a sample of the traditionally educated students (N=273) who had enrolled in credit courses between the years of 2001 and 2008 at York Technical College, a comprehensive community college in South Carolina. In the quantitative phase of the study, academic success measures included COMPASS placement scores in writing, pre-algebra, algebra, college algebra, and reading and collegiate grade point averages for the 1st semester in college, math courses, science courses, English composition courses, and collegiate overall. In each measure except COMPASS college algebra, the homeschooled students had higher scores/GPAs and each of these differences were statistically significant with the exception of the COMPASS algebra scores.

In the second phase, four homeschooled students and four traditionally educated students were selected from the enrolled population of the college and interviewed using a semi-structured methodology. The participants were selected to represent the diversity of both populations and to provide depth and context to the quantitative findings. Three themes emerged related to the preparation the participants received from their educational history: general preparation, math preparation, and social preparation. All participants felt their educational histories generally prepared them for college-level work, all of the participants felt their weakest area of preparation was mathematics, and all expressed thoughts related to their social preparation for college. Although there were similarities between the two populations in the thoughts expressed leading to the identification of the first two themes, there was more diversity between participants from the two groups related to social preparation.

The findings from the quantitative and qualitative phases were integrated to offer a more complete analysis of the relative success of homeschooled students at York Technical College. This analysis has been interpreted to mean that homeschooled students compared favorably to their traditionally educated peers, but a possible area of concern was the mathematics preparation these students received prior to matriculating in college. This finding along with the theme of social preparation should be of particular interest to homeschooled students, their parents, and colleges that will enroll home-schooled matriculates.

Advisor: Sheldon Stick