Virtual School Meanderings

April 25, 2022

AERA 2022 – Timing of Enrollment and Online Course Completion

The twenty-sixth of the K-12 Online Learning sessions from the 2022 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association that I am blogging is:

Timing of Enrollment and Online Course Completion

  • In Event: Supporting K–12 Teaching and Learning With Online Resources and Tools

Mon, April 25, 8:00 to 9:30am PDT (8:00 to 9:30am PDT), SIG Virtual Rooms, SIG-Online Teaching and Learning Virtual Paper Session Room


Prior to the pandemic, online course taking was widespread in both K-12 and postsecondary education. As a result of school closures, even more schools enrolled students in online courses. However, many questions remain about how to provide effective instruction virtually and the structures that facilitate student success in their online courses, including the influence of the enrollment process (e.g., which students enroll, who enrolls them, and when). This study utilizes data on over 8,000 students enrolled in online high school courses to examine whether the timing of enrollment in online courses relates to students’ subsequent course outcomes. The results suggest that students who enrolled on-time were more likely to complete their courses than students who enrolled late.


  • Jacqueline Zweig, Education Development Center, Inc.
  • Erin Stafford, Education Development Center, Inc.

Which was part of this larger session:

Supporting K–12 Teaching and Learning With Online Resources and Tools

Mon, April 25, 8:00 to 9:30am PDT (8:00 to 9:30am PDT), SIG Virtual Rooms, SIG-Online Teaching and Learning Virtual Paper Session RoomSession Type: Paper Session


Preparation and support for K-12 teaching with online resources and tools is a growing area of interest. Supporting K-12 learners is also garnering increasing interest. This session will feature research research about K-12 online teaching and learning. Presentations feature international work as well as work from the United States.

Sub Unit

  • SIG-Online Teaching and Learning


  • Jacqueline Zweig, Education Development Center, Inc.


  • Online Teaching in K–12 Education: A Systematic Review – Carla C. Johnson, North Carolina State University; Janet Walton, North Carolina State University; Jennifer Brammer Elliott, North Carolina State University; Lacey Jean Strickler Eppard, University of Toledo
  • Timing of Enrollment and Online Course Completion – Jacqueline Zweig, Education Development Center, Inc.; Erin Stafford, Education Development Center, Inc.
  • A Novel Adoption of Two Online Teaching Self-Evaluation Instruments Among a Public Pre-K–12 Teacher Sample – Virginia Byrne, Morgan State University; Diane Jass Ketelhut, University of Maryland – College Park
  • Factors Influencing Chinese K–12 Teachers’ Intention to Teach Online During the Pandemic – Yu Qing, East China Normal University
  • Homeschooling in Norway During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Unequal Opportunities and Little Digital Innovation – Cecilie Pedersen Dalland, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University; Marte Blikstad-Balas, University of Oslo; Kirsti Klette, University of Oslo; Astrid Roe, University of Oslo


  • Mary F. Rice, The University of New Mexico

This study focused on examining when students enrolled in supplemental online courses and their eventual outcome.  Prior to the pandemic, there were approximately 1,000,000 students engaged in supplemental online learning – and as we begin to emerge from the pandemic more and more school districts are offering supplemental online learning.

The study itself was based on a statewide virtual school in a Midwestern state that had an online learning graduation requirement (and those in the field should know which state this is).  The actual research questions were:

The sample was 8,256 students enrolled in ~400 different courses in the Fall 2018.  In terms of the overall outcome from these students, it looked like this:

The data were analyzed using the following variables.

The results revealed.

From a practical standpoint, it begs the questions of how long should you allow a student to enroll in the course, and for those who enroll late what kinds of additional supports might be needed.  Should more be done to encourage students to enroll early or on time?  Should programs have harder cut off enrollment dates and, if so, what is the sweet spot for that cut off?

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