Most virtual K-12 charter schools learn significantly less than students at traditional public schools, according to a new CREDO study.
The average full-time online student lost 72 days of reading progress, on average, and a full year in math, the study concluded.
“It is literally as if the kid did not go to school for an entire year,” said Margaret E. Raymond, project director at Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, or CREDO.
The study looked at virtual students in 17 states and the District of Columbia between 2008 and 2013. It did not include students in “blended learning” programs that combine online and teacher-led instruction.
Nina Rees, who runs the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, called for “dramatically” improved oversight and closing low-performing virtual charters. One option could be “funding full-time virtual charter public school students via a performance-based funding system.”
Virtual schooling works for some students, said Rees in a statement. The study found 30 to 40 percent of full-time online students do as well or better than traditional students.
Center for Education Reform questioned the study’s “virtual twin” methodology used to create a control group. “Many parents choose online options for their children based on exceptional circumstances and situations, ranging from safety and bullying concerns, to academic issues, to social and emotional issues, medical reasons, and more,” CER said.
A different Stanford study found that “marginal” DeVry University students learn less in online courses than traditional courses.
A for-profit university, DeVry offers both online and in-person courses with the same syllabus, textbook, assignments, quizzes, tests, and grading rubrics.
High achievers may learn just as much online, but, for lower-achieving students, taking a course online “reduces student learning, as measured by course grades, and lowers the probability of persistence in college,” researchers concluded. Procrastination is the likely suspect.
Via Jay P. Greene’s Blog.