Dissertation topic decided – update 3
Published June 12, 2009
I have spent the last four weeks defining my dissertation topic. I knew from the outset that I wanted it to be something about K-12 online learning. My starting point was a previous blog post. Since then, I have emailed with researchers, talked on the phone with several of them, met with my dissertation chair, and then, talked with a statistics professor. Michael Barbour over at Virtual Schooling responded via his blog. I believe I now have a topic. However, my next step is to find out if I can find the statistics I need for this topic. Otherwise, it won’t do me any good to pursue this topic.
My dissertation research questions are:
1. Are there a disproportionate number of at risk students attending online charter schools as compared to comprehensive high schools?
2. Are at risk students being more successful in online schools?
I would compare full time online students with students in a comprehensive high school. I was advised to start small. At this point in time, I’m hoping to find an online school in one region/county in California who will provide me with their student statistics regarding demographics, test scores, grades, etc. And, then find a corresponding comprehensive high school in the same region with the same statistics.
I would first define “at risk” using some of the drop out data/studies I have read. It could be the number of previously failed courses or low achievement or previous grade retention. Then, based on that definition, pull out the students and run some statistics.
Then, I will need to define what success is in online school, etc. and compare the at risk students in both settings.
What do you think?