In this latest research, the Evergreen Education Group looks at how far districts have come with online learning, as well as how far administrators still have to go, and what is needed to get there.
New laws and policies are being created and implemented at a dizzying pace. These policy changes are among the key developments in 2012, but by no means the only ones. Beyond the spread of online courses and schools, among the significant developments in the past year are:
Both of these will ease the way for additional online and blended course implementations. Common Core and national assessments are not discussed in detail in the report, but we anticipate addressing them in future reports or on our blog at www.kpk12.com.
Because developments in online and blended learning are difficult to predict, Keeping Pace puts a heavier emphasis on what happened in the 2011-12 school year than on predicting the future. Still, several trends and developments will be worth watching in 2013.
One of these will be what happens in states that are considering allowing fully online schools but have not yet done so, such as Maine, North Carolina, and New Jersey, and states that have limited fully online schools, such as New Hampshire, Arkansas, and Virginia. In 2013 we may see a significant slowing of the spread of fully online schools, and political activities in these states will be an early indication.
We will also be watching for the growth of new blended schools. This may take the form of further expansion of charter schools managed by organizations such as Rocketship, Carpe Diem, Connections, or K12 Inc., or it may be based on new organizations or new independent blended schools. Further growth in this category may spur increased activity by individual school districts, state virtual schools, intermediate districts, and other public education agencies.
These changes will be reflected in next year’s version of Table 1: State-level snapshot of online learning activity. We will be watching to see the progress in expanding more opportunities, to more students, across more states.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly but not easily reflected in a single table or image, we will be assessing how well state accountability and data systems are able to capture student outcomes. This will undoubtedly be a multi-year process, but we are hopeful that we will see noteworthy advances in 2013, with the goals that students will have expanding opportunities in online and blended learning, and these schools and courses will show improved quality based on student outcomes.
Read the entire report at http://kpk12.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/KeepingPace2012.pdf.