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SPERA 2010 - The Promise and the Reality: Exploring Virtual Schooling in Rural Jurisdictions


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SPERA 2010 - The Promise and the Reality: Exploring Virtual Schooling in Rural Jurisdictions

  1. 1. The Promise and the Reality:Exploring Virtual Schooling in Rural Jurisdictions  Michael K. Barbour Assistant Professor Wayne State University
  2. 2. How are they doing?Examining studentachievement in virtualschoolingMichael K. Barbour and DennisMulcahy
  3. 3. Newfoundland and Labrador• the island is 110,000 square kilometers, while Labrador covers 270,000 square kilometers• population was 505,469 in 2006 Census – 551,795 in 1996 / 568,350 in 1986• 279 schools in 2009-10 – 343 in 2000-01 / 472 in 1995-96• 69,665 students in 2009-10 – 76,763 in 2005-06 – 110,456 in 1995-96 / 142,332 in 1985-86• 63.8% of the schools are rural – only 39.2 of the students• average school size is 200 pupils – 50% > 200 and 25% > 100
  4. 4. Barbour & Mulcahy – Ed in Rural Australia (2008)
  5. 5. Barbour & Mulcahy – ERS Spectrum (2009)
  6. 6. Is this consistent with other student performance research?
  7. 7. 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)
  8. 8. 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)
  9. 9. 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)
  10. 10. 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) – +0.14 favoring online over face-to-face
  11. 11. Let’s look a little closer...
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. Student Performance and StudentsSo are we really comparingapples to apples?
  15. 15. 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)
  16. 16. 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)
  17. 17. 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)
  18. 18. 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)
  19. 19. Does this represent all online students?
  20. 20. US 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)
  21. 21. Researchliteratureindicates K-12online learningstudents are...
  22. 22. … but is this thereality of most USK-12 onlinelearningstudents?
  23. 23. Canadiandistanceeducationstudents areprimarily inrural school
  24. 24. How are they doing?Examining studentachievement in virtualschoolingMichael K. Barbour and DennisMulcahy
  25. 25. Academic tracks in Newfoundland & Labrador• English language arts• mathematics• academic stream - graduation, college, university, etc.• basic stream - graduation, trade school• virtual school program only offers academic streamed courses
  26. 26. Enrollment - English Language Arts
  27. 27. Enrollment - Mathematics
  28. 28. Mulcahy, Dibbon and Norberg (2008)• study of rural schooling in three schools on the south coast of the Labrador• found two had a higher percentage of students enrolled in basic-level courses• speculated because the only way students could do academic course at their school was online, some students specifically chose the basic stream to avoid taking an online course Students who enroll in the basic stream are not eligible for post-secondary admittance!
  29. 29. United States - 2% of all studentsCanada - 2.8% to 3.4% of all students
  30. 30. United States• 40,000 - 50,000 in 2001• >1,000,000 in 2009Canada• 10,000 - 15,000 in 1999• 150,000 - 175,00 in 2010
  31. 31. But what do we really know about teaching and learning online??
  32. 32. 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
  33. 33. What do we know from the literature?• “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)
  34. 34. 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)
  35. 35. There must be a better way!!!