A comparative study of home educated students and traditionally educated students after completion of a Midwestern university first-year experience program
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The purpose of this study was to assist educational leaders in developing policy to better understand the home educated students and aspects of their first-year experience. This was achieved using a quantitative approach to gather information from three different student population groups, traditionally educated students, home educated students, and privately educated students. This information was gathered from a Midwestern university using a self-report student survey after the students had completed a first-year experience program. This quantitative study had 251 respondents, primarily from one Midwestern university. The study utilized the Knowledge, Attitude and Behavior Items Survey. The survey contained 39 items separated into a demographic section and three subscales: (a) knowledge, (b) attitudes, and (c) behavior. The survey was adapted from The University Experience Battery Items (Schrader & Brown, 2008) by eliminating questions, focusing the language and adding a demographic section. This study has implications both theoretically and practically. For home educated students the study provides insight into how this specific population compares to other student groups. The data from this study shows home educated students self-reported the practical knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors for a successful transition into higher education. This may encourage home educated students to engage and enroll in first-year experience programs when entering higher education. This study suggests students finish these programs with those necessary qualities for student success. The primary recommendation for further study was there was not a significant difference in survey answers for the three student populations. Further examination should be performed on other students groups, pertaining to first-year experience programs. This research only separated the results by the model of education used before entering higher education. Additional investigation on the impact of first-year experience programs with minority groups, socio-economic status, gender, and other demographic categories would lead further development of these programs. Replication of this study to a broader range of universities and higher education institutions would allow for a more diverse population, allowing for improved generalizability.
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