Virtual School Meanderings

June 15, 2010


  1. I read your newsletter re achievement and demographics. I’m not sure all jurisdictions can be characterized by the high-achieving demographic. In our province, we are seeing early signs that we may be weighted disproportionately from bricks-and-mortar towards the credit recovery/second chance/last chance group, but also with the higher performers (bimodal, rather than normal distribution).

    Comment by Tim Winkelmans — June 15, 2010 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

  2. Tim, I don’t suggest that this is true of all jurisdictions – in fact, I’d argue that it is only true of a minority of jurisdictions. But the demographic is true of the students who are included in the research studies reported in the literature.

    And this is the point I have been trying to drive home for years now… If the online students in these studies that compare performance between the brick-and-mortar and online environments are the higher performers (which is pretty clear based on the literature). And if these high performing students only do as well or slightly better than their face-to-face counterparts who – again based on that same literature – include the full range of student ability levels. What do we honestly believe the comparisons would look like if we actually compared apples and apples?

    Would the proponents of K-12 online learning be able to go around waving those studies like they do the two Cavanaugh et al meta-analysis or the US DOE meta-analysis? Would this give us pause to actually consider what constitutes effective design, delivery and support of K-12 online learning opportunities for different kinds of students? As I’m a firm believer in the fact that an online learning environment for an at-risk student will look very different than one for an Advanced Placement student.

    The problem is that the proponents have used this methodologically flawed research to push a specific agenda – one that in its extreme is represented in the ideas put forth by Christensen et al. or Chubb & Moe – that doesn’t really help the quality of education. And in the United States is another way to attack public education in the guise of school choice.

    Comment by mkbnl — June 15, 2010 @ 7:49 pm | Reply

  3. VSM Newsletter – June 2010…

    After many months of false starts, the first edition of the VSM Newsletter has been published today. If you haven’t signed up for it, visit and sign up there (and you can access the edition that was e-mailed out a fe…

    Trackback by Teaching and Developing Online — June 17, 2010 @ 9:58 pm | Reply

  4. […] A while ago, I introduced a feature entitled VSM Newsletter. The goal was to post a monthly e-newsletter through a Google group that I created for that purpose.  However, a year and a half later, I have only posted a single newsletter (June 2010). […]

    Pingback by VSM Newsletter – August 2011 « Virtual School Meanderings — August 15, 2011 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

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