School House Wonk

"Genius without education is like silver in the mine." Benjamin Franklin

Report card time for states and online learning

The Foundation for Excellence in Education and Digital Learning Now! issued digital report cards this week. These report cards assess the effectiveness of each state’s online learning opportunities for K-12 students. States earned grades of “achieved,” “partial” or “not yet achieved” for each metric measured.

The grades reflected the extent to which states have adopted policies or practices aligned with these ten elements:

  • student access
  • barriers to student access
  • personalized learning
  • competency-based advancement
  • quality content
  • quality instruction
  • quality choices
  • assessment and accountability
  • funding
  • infrastructure

What grade did your state earn? Click here find out. You can also compare your state to the “ideal” digital learning state (as defined by Digital Learning Now!).

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My take – The digital report cards provide of wealth of information about the state of play of online learning in each state, including citations to authorizing laws and regulations. Policy makers and others can learn much about the depth of online learning offerings across the U.S. (e.g., access for various grade levels, caps on enrollment, funding, etc.).

One metric used that didn’t quite make sense is this one:

“State law requires students to complete at least one online course to earn a high school diploma.”

Question – How does the requirement that students complete an online course to earn a diploma measure the effectiveness of a state’s online learning programs? Requiring online learning for graduation is a policy decision, not an objective measure of the quality of a state’s digital learning opportunities.

Upshot – The report card is still worth the click for those interested in what’s happening in the world of online learning at the state level.

Beth T. Sigall

December 15, 2011

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