My research regarding online charter schools showed that in regards to student achievement, students achieve just as well in online charter high schools as they do in traditional high schools based on standardized test scores in English. In addition, regarding student dropouts, there are more students who drop out of online charter high schools than from traditional high schools. Although I did not study why there are more students who drop out of online charter high schools than traditional high schools, I believe that part of the reason for this is when students fail courses or are suspended or expelled from traditional high schools, their only option is to seek enrollment in a charter school or an online charter school. Therefore, many students enrolling in online charter high schools are students who have already had negative experiences with school. This is certainly an area for further research.
In the process of my research, I also identified the number of students who enroll in online charter schools in California. Overall the number of students who enrolled in online charter high schools increased by more than 60% between 2006-07 and 2008-09. The statistics below also show that the percentage of high schools students enrolled in any charter high school in California is 5% while the number of students enrolled in in online charter high schools is less than 1%. Data was collected from the EdData website that shows historic enrollment and demographics for all public schools in California. See the growth charts below.
Rob’s entire Dissertation can be found here.