According to a state report released last month, nearly half of the students taking online classes in 2008 failed with an D or F grade.I'm pretty sure that the results can mostly be explained by the way online school is currently employed: as a second chance for students who've struggled in a traditional environment. A 50% passing rate, then, might actually represent a genuine success. We'll have to see longer-term results from districts that have a mixed approach. From a cost-benefit perspective, the lower infrastructure and instructional costs, even if the passing rate stays flat at 50%, might still make the project worthwhile.
Also, online school is not a get-out-of-WASL-free card. Full-time online students must take the test in person at a testing site set up by the school. Part-time students who take one or two classes online still test at their home districts.
Statewide, several online schools have a hard time getting their students to show up for the test, which results in mixed performance reviews.
In the six online schools the state studied, fewer than half of sophomores passed the reading WASL last spring, compared to 81 percent statewide. Less than 20 percent of those sophomores passed the math WASL.
Online school officials say the report is flawed. Students who skipped the WASL counted as a zero, which dragged the school average down.
Take out the “zeros” at Washington Virtual Academy for example, and 77 percent of their sophomores passed WASL reading. In math, 31 percent passed compared to 45 percent statewide....
Online school students at those six schools took the WASL 64 percent of the time, compared to nearly 98 percent statewide, the report said.
Jan 31, 2010
online high schools: a disappointment?
Initial results from Washington's online high schools, at first glance, seem disappointing: