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AECT 2010 - Where Are We Losing Them? (dis)Engagement Patterns of Virtual High School Students
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AECT 2010 - Where Are We Losing Them? (dis)Engagement Patterns of Virtual High School Students

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Hawkins, A., Graham, C. & Barbour, M. K. (2010, October). Where are we losing them? (dis)Engagement patterns of virtual high school students. A paper presented at the annual convention of the …

Hawkins, A., Graham, C. & Barbour, M. K. (2010, October). Where are we losing them? (dis)Engagement patterns of virtual high school students. A paper presented at the annual convention of the Association for Educational Communication and Technology, Anaheim, CA.

This study examined course completion and participation patterns of student enrollments at Utah’s Electronic High School from 2005-2008. Using descriptive statistics, researchers found that completion rates improved with the age of the program. Certain disciplines had higher completion rates as well as numbers of students who engaged in the course compared to other disciplines. A high percentage of students never engaged. Implications of the findings are discussed as well as areas for future research.

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  • Between 51 – 65% of students get out of the gate. Losing up to 48.9% (i.e. 2007) who don’t even submit a single assignment.
  • Steady increase in completion rates as the program ages
  • Still large # incompletesImprovement with age of program
  • Transcript

    • 1. WHERE ARE WE LOSINGTHEM?(DIS)ENGAGEMENTPATTERNS OF VIRTUALHIGH SCHOOLAbigail Hawkins & Charles R. Graham, Brigham YoungUniversityMichael K. Barbour, Wayne State University
    • 2. Study Context Attrition in K-12 online learning is aproblem. (Barbour & Reeves, 2009; Berge & Clark, 2005; Bigbie&McCarroll, 2000; Cavanaugh, Gillan, Bosnick, Hess, & Scott, 2005; McLeod, Hughes, Brown, Choi, & Maeda, 2005; Rice, 2006; Smith, Clark, &Blomeyer, 2005; Zucker&Kozma, 2003). Targeted interventions = who, where, when, and why of student drop outs (Institute for Educational Research, 2008). Study setting  Oldest (est. 1994) and one of largest (2008 enrollments = 47,932)  Asynchronous, self-paced, rolling-enrollment model  Little published research  High enrollments(i.e. 2008 =47,932) and attrition (i.e. 2008 = 68.9% )
    • 3. Study Purpose Understand the WHERE and WHEN of student dropout at EHS.Study Questions When are students disengaging? Which disciplines are students withdrawing/stopping out of?
    • 4. Method Examined 85,297 enrollments from 2005 - 2008, descriptive statistics 92 unique courses, 11 disciplines 75 part-time teachers Student demographics limited  50%credit acceleration, 30% credit recovery, 20% both Policy changes, Oct. 2007  30 days inactivity = dropped  Six-month completion time
    • 5. Student Enrollments: 2005-2008 60000 Significant growth over time. 50000 150% 47932 increase# of students 40000 30000 32065 700% 20000 increase 10000 4493 0 802 2005 2006 2007 2008 years
    • 6. Enrollments vs. Starters: 2005-2008 60000 2008: 65% of students actually get out of the gate. 50000 2007: 51% submit at least one assignment# of students 40000 30000 All Enrollments 20000 Starters 10000 0 2005 2006 2007 2008 years
    • 7. Completion Rates: Allenrollments 35 30 High attrition rates. 31.1 25 Improved retention over% completion time. 20 19.8 15 10.5 11.3 10 5 0 2005 (n=802) 2006 (n=4493) 2007 (n=32,065) 2008 (n=47937) years
    • 8. Completion rates: Enrollments vs. Starter 60 Eliminate non- 50 starters, completions 52.3 jump by 20%. % completion 40 34.5 30 31.1 All Enrollments 20 19.8 Starters 15.8 10 10.5 10.4 11.3 0 2005 2006 2007 2008 years* Starters defined as enrolled and submitted at least one graded assignm
    • 9. Reconsidering Non-Starters  Old view: lazy, unmotivated, ex pect it will be easy  Is there an alternative way to view this behavior?  Alternative view: smart, self aware  Will this work for me?  Does it meet my expectations for WHAT and HOW I want to learn? Image source: http://atlasschoolblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/lazy_student1.jpg
    • 10. On Opening AccessEmail dated Feb 21, 2010Dear Ms. Walker, Hey i am debating on whether or not to take U.S. government with EHS, and i thought that by filling out the class registration i would be able to see how the class was like. However, i wasnt able to and now am enrolled so i was wondering how i can see what the class is like and also if i can get of the enrolled waiting list, and how.Thanks,student
    • 11. Non Starter Implications Students are enrolling without knowing what they are getting into. Explore and realize, “Hey, this isn’t for me.” If you were to make the content open for students to examine BEFORE enrolling, then the costs associated with enrolling, withdrawing, seat space within course can be reduced Gives more decision-making power / ownership back to the student
    • 12. Completion Rates by Discipline Computer… * Financial literacy and Fine Arts Health are required courses World… and may attract credit Science acceleration studentsLanguage Arts Mathematics * Speculate that Electives /… FL, PE, and Driver’s Ed.Social Studies are more applied Drivers… Health / PE Financial… 0 20 40 60 % completion
    • 13. Completion Rates by Discipline Computer… Fine Arts Research indicates math may World… be harder online. Not Science necessarily true at EHS.Language Arts Mathematics Electives /…Social Studies Drivers… Health / PE Financial… 0 20 40 60 % completion
    • 14. Completion Rates by Discipline Computer… * Why computer science? Fine Arts * Why fine arts? World… * Factor of content? Tool? Science Teacher? Student?Language Arts Mathematics Electives /…Social Studies Drivers… Health / PE Financial… 0 20 40 60 % completion
    • 15. Non Starters by Discipline •Where are students not even Drivers Education starting? Financial Literacy Electives / Career Health / PE Science Social StudiesComputer Education Fine Arts World Languages Language Arts Mathematics 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 % of non starters
    • 16. Non Starters by Discipline •Why? Drivers Education •Course quality low? Financial Literacy •Instructional approach Electives / Career mismatch? Health / PE •Pure exploration? Science Social StudiesComputer Education Fine Arts World Languages Language Arts Mathematics 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 % of non starters
    • 17. Mathematics Completion Rates 60% What does this data tell you? 50%% compeltion 40% Pre Algebra 30% Algebra I Algebra II 20% Geometry Calculus 10% 0% Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 quarters
    • 18. Mathematics Completion Rates Quarter 1 has higher attrition than other quarters. 60% What is happening in Algebra II and Calculus? 50%% compeltion 40% Pre Algebra 30% Algebra I Algebra II 20% Geometry Calculus 10% 0% Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 quarters
    • 19. Language Arts Completion Rates(2008) 12 (n=814)Grade Level 11 (n=1771) 10 (n=1461) 9 (n=2683) 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Percentage
    • 20. Grade Distribution: 2005 - 2008 Non CompleteGrade Awarded D * Bimodal grade C 2008 distribution 2007 * Over time more 2006 B credits awarded 2005 A with higher grades 0 20 40 60 80 100 % of credits awarded
    • 21. Time to Completion*Year Mean in n Std. Days Deviation2005 630.51 86 421.992006 500.03 497 250.982007 260.44 6,159 162.792008 141.56 14,213 102.03* Filtered out days with post dated grades.Included length in class >= 3 days
    • 22. Time to Completion byDiscipline Computer… Completing faster Fine Arts as program World… stabilizes Science Language Arts 2008 Mathematics 2007 Electives /… 2006 Social Studies 2005 Drivers… Health / PE Financial… 0 500 1000 1500
    • 23. Duration of Activity in CalculusCourse for Non Completers 80 70 60 What does this data tell you?# of students 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 4 7 71 14 18 29 35 48 58 81 94 121 131 141 153 168 183 202 230 259 300 days
    • 24. Duration of Activity in CalculusCourse for Non Completers(n=149) 80 70 60 Majority of non-completers stop all activity within first# of students 50 three days of enrollment. 40 30 20 10 0 0 4 7 71 14 18 29 35 48 58 81 94 121 131 141 153 168 183 202 230 259 300 days
    • 25. Duration of Activity in English 9Course for Non Completers(n=1,679) Frequency 300 250 Majority of non-completers stop all activity within first # of students 200 week of enrollment 150 100 50 0 302 332 103 124 139 163 187 212 245 273 383 420 472 570 0 14 28 42 56 72 86 days
    • 26. Duration of Activity in English 9Course for Non Completers(n=1,679) Frequency 300 250 Non completer duration of# of students 200 activity mean: 64 days 150 Completer duration of activity mean: 132 days 100 50 0 103 124 139 163 187 212 245 273 302 332 383 420 472 570 0 42 14 28 56 72 86 days
    • 27. Study Implications Necessity of tracking  Data driven decision making  Minimum: who, where, when…why Opening access to allow for preview  Ormond Simpson – Open University, UK Samplers  David Wiley – Brigham Young University, Courses Examination of Discipline  Content? Medium? Teacher? Age?  Increase research on affordances, limitations w/in dis.  Mismatch between how do it online and how think learn online?
    • 28. Future Directions1. Quantitative understanding  Who?  When?  Where?2. Qualitative understanding  Why?  Challenging. Common Patterns? Common barriers?
    • 29. References Barbour, M. K., & Reeves, T. C. (2009). The reality of virtual schools: A review of the literature. Computers & Education, 52(2), 402-416. Berge, Z. L., && Clark, T. (2005). Virtual schools planning for success. New York: Teachers College Press. Bigbie, C., &McCarroll, W. (2000). The florida virtual high evaluation 1999-2000 report. Retrieved October 15, 2007, from http://www.flvs.net/educators/documents/pdf/archived_evals/FLVS%20Annual%20Ev aluations/99-2000/99-2000%20Year%20End%20Evaluation.pdf Cavanaugh, C., Gillan, K. J., Bosnick, J., Hess, M., & Scott, H. (2005). Succeeding at the gateway: Secondary algebra learning in the virtual school. Jacksonville, FL: University of North Florida. McLeod, S., Hughes, J. E., Brown, R., Choi, J., & Maeda, Y. (2005). Algebra achievement in virtual and traditional schools. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates. Rice, K. L. (2006). A comprehensive look at distance education in the K-12 context. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 38(4), 425-448. Smith, R., Clark, T., &Blomeyer, R. (2005). A synthesis of new research in K-12 online learning. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates.

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