Online Learning Research: Results

In setting up my dissertation study, I examined 12 online charter high schools in California and then compared them with 12 traditional high schools in California.  I randomly selected the traditional high schools based on comparable Free and Reduced Lunch percentages so that economically, the schools were matched.  I then compared standardized test results in 9th, 10th and 11th grade English language arts in all schools (ELA is the one test across all grade levels and only given in specific grade levels in California…also known as the STAR test).  And I looked at student dropout rates in all of these schools over a two year period.

Note:  I would have compared data over three years, but this data was not available for student dropouts and as you saw from my previous blog post, the number of students in online charter schools was minimal in the 2006-07 school year.

Data was gathered from both DataQuest and from Educational Results Partnership, both of which report data on California’s public schools.

This study compared student achievement and dropout rates between randomly selected online charter schools and traditional high schools in California and found that:

  • The percentage of students who scored proficient or above on CST ELA tests over a 2 year period was slightly greater in traditional high schools as compared to online charter high schools (a difference of between 8% to 11% depending on the grade and year) (See charts below)
  • The percentage of student dropouts is much greater in online charter high schools than in traditional high schools (See charts below)

Student Dropouts: Charters vs. Traditional High Schools

More statistics tomorrow that show how enrollment in online charter schools has increased in California.

Rob’s entire Dissertation can be found here.


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