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Research Results

Calvert Releases Homeschooling Academic Effectiveness Research Results

Media Contact: Heather Langenberg, Media Representative
410-785-3400 ext. 6516
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August 2, 2012

Baltimore, MD


Calvert Students Making Greater Academic Gains at Mid-Year Point than a Control Group of Peers


Independent research shows that after a half-year of study, families that used Calvert’s homeschool curriculum learning management system and instructional support made significantly greater academic gains than a randomly selected group of peers using non-Calvert homeschooling programs, materials, and support resources.

Calvert students gained an average of more than one grade level in both math and literacy measures by mid-year, in many cases at twice the rate of gain of the control group.

In particular, the Calvert program was more effective in enhancing student learning for literacy areas of Word Recognition, Oral Vocabulary, and Spelling; and in math areas of Geometry and Algebra, than other homeschool curriculum programs. Because of sample size and the brief duration of the period of evaluation, differences in other measures of proficiency in mathematics and literacy cannot yet be reported conclusively.

There were differences by grade levels for both literacy and math.

In Literacy, Calvert youth in Early Elementary demonstrated significantly greater gains in Vocabulary compared to non-Calvert, while Calvert youth in Upper Elementary demonstrated significantly greater gains in Word Recognition and Spelling. Youth in Middle School were making significantly greater gains than their non-Calvert peers for Word Recognition, Vocabulary, and Spelling.

In Math, differential grade level findings indicated that Calvert youth in Early Elementary made significantly greater gains in Geometry concepts compared to their non-Calvert peers, while Upper Elementary students made significantly greater gains in Algebra.

In mathematics:

  • Calvert students in Early Elementary made significantly greater grade level gains for Geometry (0.60) compared with non-Calvert students (0.25).
  • Calvert students in Upper Elementary made significantly greater grade level gains for Algebra skills/concepts (1.27) compared to non-Calvert youth (0.12).

In measures of literacy:

  • Calvert students gained nearly an entire grade level (0.98) for Spelling compared with non-Calvert students (0.60);
  • Calvert students gained 1.65 grade levels for Oral Vocabulary vs. 0.78 for the non-Calvert population;
  • Calvert students gained 1.85 grade levels for Word Recognition vs. 0.91 for the non-Calvert students

Calvert Education Services CEO Richard Rasmus said, “We are delighted to see such positive results so early in the study. Having statistically significant evidence of superior academic effectiveness measured and verified by a distinguished education researcher like Deborah Carran of Johns Hopkins University is tremendously exciting. It not only confirms years of positive feedback we have received from the hundreds of thousands of students who have used the Calvert curriculum, it should also give confidence to those who are relatively new to in-home instruction that first-rate academic results can be obtained, not only by homeschoolers, but by the professional educators who are now turning to the Calvert program to power their virtual schooling programs.”


An evaluation of student impact and stakeholder satisfaction with the Calvert Homeschool Curriculum was conducted during the 2011–12 academic calendar year. The evaluation involved 119 youth in grades K–8 who studied the Calvert curriculum and 176 comparison youth who studied by using other homeschool programs. Recruited youth were randomized between conditions. All youth were given online pretest standardized assessments in Math (iReady Math) and Literacy (DORA) to establish baseline academic performance. Halfway through all curricula, youth were assessed using the same instruments to examine and compare growth in Literacy and Math. Mid-study findings answered evaluation questions investigating whether students demonstrated an academic increase from beginning to mid-program (halfway through all curricula models) while enrolled in the Calvert program compared to non-Calvert participants.


Literacy assessment: The Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment (DORA) was selected to be used as a standardized instrument for this study. DORA was designed to be aligned with the California State Reading Standards (Cal Reads) and intended to capture an individual student’s reading profile from multiple perspectives, using a constructivist approach to the reading process. Eight reading skills may be measured with the DORA: (1) High-Frequency Words, (2) Phonemic Awareness, (3) Phonics, (4) Word Recognition, (5) Vocabulary, (6) Spelling, (7) Silent Reading Comprehension, and (8) Fluency. Table 2 presents the six DORA subscales selected for the study. Fluency and Phonemic Awareness were not used in the study, and the Phonics (PH) and High-Frequency Words (HFW) were administered and reported only for students in grades K–4.

Mathematics assessment: iReady Math was selected to measure progress in mathematics. This assessment utilizes an adaptive diagnostic approach for math in grades K–8. The purpose of the diagnostic is to provide a detailed analysis on student performance and to identify skill gaps that students may be experiencing in their instruction. Students are assigned grade levels based on their performance. Skills assessed using iReady Math were (1) Number and Operations, (2) Geometry, (3) Algebra and Algebraic Thinking, and (4) Measurement and Data. Student scores are reported in two formats, standard score format or in grade level format.

“Most of our participants began their work last winter, so we don’t have full-year results ready for assessment,” Rasmus said. “However, the trends I have observed at mid-year seem to be continuing favorably for the Calvert students. We are looking forward to receiving Deborah’s final report in the Fall of 2012.”

About Calvert Education Services

Calvert Education Services provides virtual and homeschool education curriculum, a learning management system, and instructional support for families and schools that value classical learning principles and an easy-to-use curriculum that empowers both adult instructors and learners. Calvert offers a complete basal curriculum, time-tested learning principles, easy-to-use lesson plans that combine the best classroom-tested materials, teacher-created lesson manuals, ongoing assessment, and instructional support, all in one complete, meticulously planned system. By providing a proven methodology and process to help students master the fundamentals of education, Calvert offers families and school districts the flexibility, resources, and support to build a solid educational foundation in grades K–8. Calvert’s program is accredited and aligns with common core standards. For more information, please visit Calvert Education Services.

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