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Rural K–12 Students’Learning in Virtual School     Environments      Michael K. Barbour        Assistant Professor      Wa...
Agenda1. What does the literature and research say?2. What does this mean for K-12 online learning?3. What should we do ne...
Literature Reviews1. Rice (2006)  – Journal of Research on Technology in     Education1. Barbour & Reeves (2009)  – Comput...
What does the literature say?• “based upon the personal experiences of  those involved in the practice of virtual  schooli...
What about research?• “a paucity of research exists when  examining high school students enrolled  in virtual schools, and...
Is this a problem?“indicative of the foundational descriptive workthat often precedes experimentation in anyscientific fie...
What does the research say?1. Comparisons of student performance based upon   delivery model (i.e., classroom vs. online)2...
So, what does the studentperformance research say?                        8
Student Performance• performance of virtual  and classroom students  in Alberta were similar  in English and Social  Studi...
Student Performance• over half of the students who  completed FLVS courses  scored an A in their course and  only 7% recei...
Student Performance• FLVS students performed  better on a non-mandatory  assessment tool than students  from the tradition...
Meta-Analysis• Cavanaugh (2001)  – +0.147 in favor of K-12 distance education• Cavanaugh et al. (2004)  – -0.028 for K-12 ...
Let’s look a little closer...                                13
Students and Student PerformanceBallas &      performance of virtual and    participation rate in theBelyk, 2000   classro...
Students and Student PerformanceCavanaugh et FLVS students performed      speculated that the virtualal., 2005    better o...
Student Performance and StudentsSo are we reallycomparing apples toapples?
The Students• the vast majority of VHS  Global Consortium students  in their courses were  planning to attend a  four-year...
The StudentsThe preferred characteristicsinclude the highly motivated,self-directed, self-disciplined,independent learner ...
The Students• “only students with a high  need to control and structure  their own learning may  choose distance formats  ...
The Students• the typical online student  was an A or B student  (Mills, 2003)• 45% of the students who  participated in e...
From sample to population...                          21
Barbour & Mulcahy - Student Performance                                 22
Barbour & Mulcahy - Student       Performance                              23
Streaming...• English language arts• mathematics• academic stream - graduation,  college, university, etc.• basic stream -...
Enrollment - English Language Arts                              25
Enrollment - Mathematics                           26
But does this represent all of    our online students?                            27
Student Reality???• two courses with the highest enrollment of online  students in the US are Algebra I & Algebra II  (Pat...
Literatureindicates K-12online learningstudents are...                  29
Reality of most K-12 online learningstudents?            30
Problem With Student Performance Studies                       31
Cavanaugh (2001)• Allen & Thompson (1995)• Blanton et al. (1997)• Burkman (1994)• Center for Applied Special Technology (1...
Problem of Effect SizesReverseEffects                                    33
Problem of Effect SizesDevelopmentalEffects                                    34
Problem of Effect Sizes    Teacher    Effects                          35
Problem of Effect Sizes                    Zone of                    Desired Effects                           36
Synthesis of Meta-Analysis• Cavanaugh (2001) - 16 studies  – +0.147 in favor of K-12 distance education• Cavanaugh et al. ...
Results of Interest• Second and third chance programs (d=0.50)• Matching style of learning (d=0.40)• Computer assisted ins...
Results to Consider•   Providing formative evaluation (d=0.90)•   Micro teaching (d=0.88)•   Teacher clarity (d=0.75)•   P...
What about the other research?                           40
Problematic ResearchOnline         7 principles of    Interviews with teachers and courseCourse         effective online  ...
Is there a better way?                         42
Design-Based Research                   Reeves (2006)                         43
Virtual High School Global Consortium • annual evaluations   – e.g., Espinoza, Dove, Zucker & Kozma, 1999;     Kozma, Zuck...
The ChallengeWhether online learning can be suitable for all K-12 students? (Mulcahy, 2002)
YourQuestions  andComments
Assistant Professor     Wayne State University, USA        mkbarbour@gmail.com   http://www.michaelbarbour.comhttp://virtu...
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MidWest REL - Rural K–12 Students’ Learning in Virtual School Environments

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Barbour, M. K. (2010, August). Rural K–12 students’ learning in virtual school environments. A keynote presentation at the Regional Educational Laboratory – Midwest’s Online Learning Opportunities for Rural Schools Conference, Madison, WI.

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MidWest REL - Rural K–12 Students’ Learning in Virtual School Environments

  1. 1. Rural K–12 Students’Learning in Virtual School Environments Michael K. Barbour Assistant Professor Wayne State University
  2. 2. Agenda1. What does the literature and research say?2. What does this mean for K-12 online learning?3. What should we do next?
  3. 3. Literature Reviews1. Rice (2006) – Journal of Research on Technology in Education1. Barbour & Reeves (2009) – Computers and Education1. Cavanaugh, Barbour, & Clark (2009) – International Review of Research in Open
  4. 4. What does the literature say?• “based upon the personal experiences of those involved in the practice of virtual schooling” (Cavanaugh et al., 2009)• described the literature as generally falling into one of two general categories: the potential benefits of and challenges facing K- 12 online learning (Barbour & Reeves, 2009) 4
  5. 5. What about research?• “a paucity of research exists when examining high school students enrolled in virtual schools, and the research base is smaller still when the population of students is further narrowed to the elementary grades” (Rice, 2006) 5
  6. 6. Is this a problem?“indicative of the foundational descriptive workthat often precedes experimentation in anyscientific field. In other words, it is important toknow how students in virtual school engage intheir learning in this environment prior toconducting any rigorous examination of virtualschooling.” (Cavanaugh et al., 2009) 6
  7. 7. What does the research say?1. Comparisons of student performance based upon delivery model (i.e., classroom vs. online)2. Studies examining the qualities and characteristics of the teaching/learning experience – characteristics of – supports provided to – issues related to isolation of online learners (Rice, 2006)1. Effectiveness of virtual schooling2. Student readiness and retention issues (Cavanaugh et al., 2009) 7
  8. 8. So, what does the studentperformance research say? 8
  9. 9. Student Performance• performance of virtual and classroom students in Alberta were similar in English and Social Studies courses, but that classroom students performed better overall in all other subject areas (Ballas & Belyk, 2000)
  10. 10. Student Performance• over half of the students who completed FLVS courses scored an A in their course and only 7% received a failing grade (Bigbie & McCarroll, 2000)• students in the six virtual schools in three different provinces performed no worse than the students from the three conventional schools (Barker & Wendel, 2001)
  11. 11. Student Performance• FLVS students performed better on a non-mandatory assessment tool than students from the traditional classroom (Cavanaugh et al., 2005)• FLVS students performed better on an assessment of algebraic understanding than their classroom counterparts (McLeod et al., 2005)
  12. 12. Meta-Analysis• Cavanaugh (2001) – +0.147 in favor of K-12 distance education• Cavanaugh et al. (2004) – -0.028 for K-12 distance education• Means et al. (2009) – +0.24 favoring online over face-to-face – +0.35 favoring blended over face-to-face 12 12
  13. 13. Let’s look a little closer... 13
  14. 14. Students and Student PerformanceBallas & performance of virtual and participation rate in theBelyk, 2000 classroom students similar assessment among virtual in English & Social Studies students ranged from 65% to courses, but classroom 75% compared to 90% to students performed better 96% for the classroom-based in all other subject areas studentsBigbie & over half of the students between 25% and 50% ofMcCarroll, who completed FLVS students had dropped out2000 courses scored an A in of their FLVS courses over their course and only 7% the previous two-year received a failing grade period 14
  15. 15. Students and Student PerformanceCavanaugh et FLVS students performed speculated that the virtualal., 2005 better on a non- school students who did mandatory assessment take the assessment may tool than students from have been more the traditional classroom academically motivated and naturally higher achieving studentsMcLeod et FLVS students performed results of the studental., 2005 better on an assessment performance were due to of algebraic understanding the high dropout rate in than their classroom virtual school courses counterparts 15
  16. 16. Student Performance and StudentsSo are we reallycomparing apples toapples?
  17. 17. The Students• the vast majority of VHS Global Consortium students in their courses were planning to attend a four-year college (Kozma, Zucker & Espinoza, 1998)• “VHS courses are predominantly designated as ‘honors,’ and students enrolled are mostly college bound” (Espinoza et al., 1999)
  18. 18. The StudentsThe preferred characteristicsinclude the highly motivated,self-directed, self-disciplined,independent learner whocould read and write well,and who also had a stronginterest in or ability withtechnology (Haughey &Muirhead, 1999)
  19. 19. The Students• “only students with a high need to control and structure their own learning may choose distance formats freely” (Roblyer & Elbaum, 2000)• IVHS students were “highly motivated, high achieving, self-directed and/or who liked to work independently” (Clark et al., 2002)
  20. 20. The Students• the typical online student was an A or B student (Mills, 2003)• 45% of the students who participated in e-learning opportunities in Michigan were “either advanced placement or academically advanced” students (Watkins, 2005)
  21. 21. From sample to population... 21
  22. 22. Barbour & Mulcahy - Student Performance 22
  23. 23. Barbour & Mulcahy - Student Performance 23
  24. 24. Streaming...• English language arts• mathematics• academic stream - graduation, college, university, etc.• basic stream - graduation, trade school• K-12 online learning program only offers academic streamed courses
  25. 25. Enrollment - English Language Arts 25
  26. 26. Enrollment - Mathematics 26
  27. 27. But does this represent all of our online students? 27
  28. 28. Student Reality???• two courses with the highest enrollment of online students in the US are Algebra I & Algebra II (Patrick, 2007)• the largest growth in K–12 online learning enrollment is with full-time cyber schools (Watson et al., 2008)• many cyber schools have a higher percentage of students classified as “at-risk” (Klein, 2006)• at-risk students are as those who might otherwise drop out of traditional schools (Rapp, Eckes & Plurker, 2006) 28
  29. 29. Literatureindicates K-12online learningstudents are... 29
  30. 30. Reality of most K-12 online learningstudents? 30
  31. 31. Problem With Student Performance Studies 31
  32. 32. Cavanaugh (2001)• Allen & Thompson (1995)• Blanton et al. (1997)• Burkman (1994)• Center for Applied Special Technology (1996)• Erickson (1992)• Gray (1996)• Hinnant (1994)• Libler (1991)• Martin & Rainey (1993) 32 32
  33. 33. Problem of Effect SizesReverseEffects 33
  34. 34. Problem of Effect SizesDevelopmentalEffects 34
  35. 35. Problem of Effect Sizes Teacher Effects 35
  36. 36. Problem of Effect Sizes Zone of Desired Effects 36
  37. 37. Synthesis of Meta-Analysis• Cavanaugh (2001) - 16 studies – +0.147 in favor of K-12 distance education• Cavanaugh et al. (2004) - 14 studies – -0.028 for K-12 distance education• Means et al. (2009) - 46 studies (5 on K-12) – +0.24 favoring online over face-to-face* – +0.35 favoring blended over face-to-face* 37 37
  38. 38. Results of Interest• Second and third chance programs (d=0.50)• Matching style of learning (d=0.40)• Computer assisted instruction (d=0.37)• Decreasing disruptive behavior (d=0.34)• Programmed instruction (d=0.24)• Individualized instruction (d=0.23)• Class size (d=0.21)• Charter schools (d=0.20)• Web-based learning (d=0.18)• Home-school programs (d=0.16)• Teacher training (d=0.11)• Teacher subject matter knowledge (d=0.09)• Distance education (d=0.09)• Student control over learning (d=0.04) 38 38
  39. 39. Results to Consider• Providing formative evaluation (d=0.90)• Micro teaching (d=0.88)• Teacher clarity (d=0.75)• Providing feedback (d=0.73)• Teacher-student relationships (d=0.72)• Teaching strategies (d=0.60)• Cooperative vs. individualistic learning (d=0.59)• Study skills (d=0.59)• Direct instruction (d=0.59)• Mastery learning (d=0.58)• Worked examples (d=0.57)• Concept mapping (d=0.57)• Goals (d=0.56)• Peer tutoring (d=0.55)• Cooperative vs. competitive learning (d=0.54) 39 39
  40. 40. What about the other research? 40
  41. 41. Problematic ResearchOnline 7 principles of Interviews with teachers and courseCourse effective online developers at a single virtual school,Design course content with no verification of whether the for adolescent interviewees’ perceptions were actuallyBarbour learners effective (or any student input for that(2005; 2007) matter)Online 37 best Interviews with teachers at a singleTeaching practices in virtual school selected by the virtual asynchronous school itself. Their teachers’ beliefsDiPietro et online teaching were not validated through observational. (2008) of the teaching or student performance. 41
  42. 42. Is there a better way? 42
  43. 43. Design-Based Research Reeves (2006) 43
  44. 44. Virtual High School Global Consortium • annual evaluations – e.g., Espinoza, Dove, Zucker & Kozma, 1999; Kozma, Zucker & Espinoza, 1998; Kozma, Zucker, Espinoza, McGhee, Yarnall & Zalles, 2000 • content-specific investigations – e.g., Elbaum, McIntyre & Smith, 2002; Yamashiro & Zucker, 1999 • final evaluation – e.g., Zucker & Kozma, 2003 44 44
  45. 45. The ChallengeWhether online learning can be suitable for all K-12 students? (Mulcahy, 2002)
  46. 46. YourQuestions andComments
  47. 47. Assistant Professor Wayne State University, USA mkbarbour@gmail.com http://www.michaelbarbour.comhttp://virtualschooling.wordpress.com

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