Virtual School Meanderings

July 3, 2017

Summer 2017 Research Clearinghouse Newsletter

A newsletter from last week’s inbox.

Summer ’17 Quarterly Research Clearinghouse Newsletter

Hello everyone,

Our quarterly Clearinghouse newsletter is intended to bring attention to recently published scholarship in the area of K-12 online and blended learning. Four times each year, we highlight recent work that was added to our Research Clearinghouse at

We encourage you to visit the Clearinghouse website to search for more resources and citations that may be of use to you. The Clearinghouse currently houses over 800 citations in the field of online and blended learning, and over 100 new citations are added each year. A “Getting Started Guide” is linked from the homepage to help you navigate your search.

Please feel free to offer any feedback on the Clearinghouse or any other MVLRI initiatives by emailing us at Thank you!

Online Courses for Credit Recovery in High Schools: Effectiveness and Promising Practices

Eliot Levine, Jeremiah Johnson, Jenny Malave, Stefanie Santaniello

This report is based on a study of 24 Massachusetts high schools across 11 districts that developed credit recovery programs as part of the federally funded MassGrad initiative from 2011 to 2015. All of the schools had dropout rates higher than the state average at the start of the initiative. Students from 14 of the schools participated in online credit recovery, and students from 10 schools participated in traditional, classroom-based credit recovery. The report provides strategies for school and district personnel interested in introducing or improving online credit recovery programs to help underserved students achieve a diploma and assesses the effectiveness of online courses for reducing dropout rates and increasing academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. It also describes typical patterns of student participation and performance in online credit recovery courses.

Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2017

Alex Molnar, Gary Miron, Charisse Gulosino, Christopher Shank, Caryn Davidson, Michael K. Barbour, Luis Huerta, Sheryl Rankin Shafer, Jennifer King Rice, David Nitkin

This annual report from the National Education Policy Center provides objective analysis of the characteristics and performance of full-time, publicly funded K-12 virtual schools, available research on virtual school practices and policy, and an overview of recent state efforts to craft new policy.

Khan Academy as Supplemental Instruction: A Controlled Study of a Computer-Based Mathematics Intervention

Daniel Patrick Kelly, Teomara Rutherford

In this study, authors examined the use of Khan Academy as a mathematics intervention among seventh grade students over a 4-week period versus a control group. The study also compares differences between students who had supplemental mathematics instruction and those who had not. In both cases, there were no statistically significant differences in student test scores. There were significant relationships between internal Khan Academy metrics, including those on student performance and use, and student test scores in this study. Khan Academy and other OER provide access to information and knowledge to large numbers of the population. This research adds to the discourse methods by which Khan Academy and other OER may affect learners.

Disconnected Data: The Challenge of Matching Activities to Outcomes for Students with Disabilities in Online Learning

Michael W. Connell, Sam Catherine Johnston, Tracey E. Hall, William Stahl

This research inquiry generated insight into the practical challenges related to data identification, acquisition, and analysis that are faced by stakeholders seeking to assess the impact of online learning environments on student outcomes. The intent was to investigate the feasibility of and identify barriers to creating a unified student record—that is, a single data set combining data on student demographics, activity, and academic performance drawn from different information systems—that might be used to identify salient factors associated with more or less successful student outcomes. This two-phase investigation highlighted key barriers that are important to address in future research efforts and engendered a series of recommendations that could eliminate some of the current challenges to data acquisition and analysis.

Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report 2015-16

Joe Freidhoff

This annual report is the most comprehensive analysis of K-12 virtual learning in Michigan, exploring enrollment, demographic, and performance data reported to the state of Michigan by public schools.

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