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iNACOL Symposium 2013 - Highlights of Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute Projects

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Freidhoff, J., DeBruler, K., Stimson, R., Kennedy, K., Barbour, M. K., Clark, T., & Winter, P. (2013, October). Highlights of Michigan virtual learning research institute projects. A presentation at the International Association of K-12 Online Learning Blended and Online Learning Symposium, Orlando, FL.

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iNACOL Symposium 2013 - Highlights of Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute Projects

  1. 1. Overview • Growth in K-12 online & blended learning programs & enrollments, in MI & U.S. • MI Legislature lifts ban on cyber charters (PA 227, 2010) • Removes restrictions, creates pro-growth policies (PA 129, 2012) • Growth is outpacing research on quality in K-12 OLL
  2. 2. Overview • MVU tasked to develop COLRI (PA 201, 2012) • Provide Leadership for MI online & blended learning • Key COLRI task: research, develop, and recommend annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and online course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils (p.44).
  3. 3. Methodology • Purpose: To examine existing policies and practices related to the evaluation and approval of K-12 online learning in the U.S. – RQ1: How do states evaluate the quality of online learning courses? – RQ2: How do states initially evaluate the quality of online learning programs? – RQ3: How do states ensure the quality of online learning programs on an on-going basis?
  4. 4. Six Dimensions of Consideration Evaluation & Approval: Level Provider / Course Evaluation & Approval: Timeframe Approval Requirement Front-End/Ongoing Geographic Reach Multi-Dist / Single Dist Modes of Instruction Fully Online / Blended Instruction Full-time / Supplemental Optional / Required
  5. 5. Findings • RQ1: How do states evaluate the quality of online learning courses? • States typically focus either at course or provider level • Some do both (GA, for example) • 11 states evaluate course quality • MD’s MVLO and CA’s CLRN: good prescriptive & optional review examples
  6. 6. Findings • RQ2: How do states initially evaluate the quality of online learning programs? • 24 states require initial approval of F-T providers; approval process ranges from simple to complex • 33 states require initial approval of F-T programs (usually as charters) • Example: GA
  7. 7. Findings • RQ3: How do states ensure the quality of online learning programs on an on-going basis? • All states that permit F-T online public schools require them to report like other public schools • At least 5 states require ongoing additional reporting or audits, beyond standard reporting • Examples: AZ, MI • One state (CO) recently removed ongoing evaluation, now only has initial approval
  8. 8. Recommendations • Continue input-focused evaluation and approval processes for F-T online schools – Seek to ensure they meet basic quality standards during development & startup – Consider elimination of input processes not supported by research or evidence of student impact
  9. 9. Recommendations • Define blended schools with a significant online learning component, and track their results – For example, define blended as 30%-80% of instructional time online – Track results separately from F-T online (over 80%) – Track separately from supplemental use in traditional schools (under 30% online)
  10. 10. Recommendations • Consider adopting an intensive state review process for F-T online schools – After two years of operation or on a periodic basis as funding permits – BC: good external audit model – WA: good P-T vs F-T differential review model
  11. 11. Recommendations • Adopt a student growth model for K-12 student performance data analysis – Provide public online access to comparative analyses of data – Facilitate comparison of F-T online, blended, and traditional school results
  12. 12. Recommendations • Collaborate actively with educational researchers to help build the evidence base for what works in K-12 online and blended learning
  13. 13. Recommendations • Adopt processes across states for evidence-based third party external validation of K-12 online courses and program quality – Work in collaboration with professional associations, associations of states, online learning providers, and post-secondary institutions
  14. 14. Thank you! Michael Barbour MVLRI Fellow mkbarbour@gmail.com Tom Clark MVLRI Fellow tom@taconsulting.net Kristen DeBruler & MVRLI colleagues kdebruler@mivu.org

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