Virtual School Meanderings

April 30, 2017

AERA 2017 – Who Loses Students to Low-Quality Schools? Relationships Between Cyber Charters and Educational Disadvantage Over Time

The ninth session I’m blogging at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA) is:

Who Loses Students to Low-Quality Schools? Relationships Between Cyber Charters and Educational Disadvantage Over Time

  • In Event: School Choice: Politics of Opportunity and Identity

Sun, April 30, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Meeting Room Level, Room 216 A

Abstract

This research examines how shifts in knowledge about the quality of a specific school type relate to changes in demographics of school districts that lose students to this school type. To do so, this study analyzes cyber charter school enrollment in Pennsylvania, showing that as the perceived quality of the cyber charter school sector turns negative, the composition of school districts losing students to this sector changes so that educationally disadvantaged districts are more likely to lose a higher proportion of students. These findings have implications for school choice theory in that certain choice decisions may not promote educational improvement if educationally disadvantaged students are offered and make choices that perpetuate their educational disadvantage.

Authors

  • Bryan Arthur Mann, Pennsylvania State University
  • David P. Baker, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Renata Horvatek, The Pennsylvania State University

The original charter school legislation in Pennsylvania was introduced in 1997, and cyber charter schools emerged from this original legislation – which were actually codified in law in 2002.  Bryan’s study focused on examining the historical student enrollment data (i.e., expansion, distribution, and transition), as well as the historic media reporting about the sector – and what both mean from a systematic standpoint.

In terms of tracking and mapping the enrollment – it has been growing, and fairly consistently in terms of geographic spread throughout the state.

The research tracking has largely focused on student performance – and have generally shown a very weak level of performance.

The media tracking for a long time focused almost exclusively on issues related to funding and governance, but in recent years it has begun to transition to have some focus on student outcomes – but only in a negative way.

School districts where educational attainment has been low tend to lose more and more students to cyber charter schools.  Interestingly, based on the researcher’s data, most of the student moves into cyber charter schools meant that a student was transition from one low attainment school to an even weaker attainment school (i.e., generally leaving a poorly performing brick-and-mortar school to attend a worse cyber charter school).

While the article for this study is still in the peer review process, you can see some of the details here in this Education Week article.

AERA 2017 – Online Learning, Achievement, and Innovation in Charter Schools

The eighth session I’m blogging at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA) is:

Online Learning, Achievement, and Innovation in Charter Schools

  • In Event: Roundtable Session 21

Sun, April 30, 10:35am to 12:05pm, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Ballroom Level, Hemisfair Ballroom 1

Session Type: Roundtable Session

Sub Unit

  • SIG-Charters & School Choice

Chairs

  • Julie M Kallio, University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Chris Torres, Michigan State University

Papers

Charter Schools’ Innovation Reporting Levels and Student Achievement

Abstract

The purpose of this exploratory mixed-methods study was to define innovation reporting levels in charter schools in Miami-Dade and Sarasota Counties in Florida and to determine what relationship exists between this innovation reporting and student achievement (as measured by Florida school grades) in Title I and high minority student population charter schools. A qualitative analysis of School Improvement Plans and school websites resulted in a 62 charter school sample for which descriptive statistics were utilized to define student achievement (Florida school grades 2010-2013). The results demonstrated that innovation saturation exists in Title I schools and high minority student population schools (≥50%). Thus, there is no value added to student achievement (school grade averages) by reported innovation beyond a moderate level.

Author

  • Einav Danan Cabrera, Florida Virtual School

Do Testing Conditions Explain Cyber Charter Schools’ Failing Grades?

Abstract

Research finds that cyber charter schools underperform academically relative to traditional public schools, with significantly lower value-added on tested subjects. Our fieldwork suggests that the performance gaps may in part reflect artificial testing conditions experienced by cyber charter school students. We surveyed state education agency officials in 17 states with cyber charter schools. Initial analyses indicate that states in which cyber charter students are tested on schedules at variance with traditional public school testing schedules have lower performing cyber school sectors. We also find that higher cyber school student attrition is associated with lower academic performance. Additional analyses will examine the impacts of testing conditions in two cyber schools within a single state to deepen understanding.

Authors

  • Dennis Beck, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
  • Robert A. Maranto, University of Arkansas
  • Angela Watson, University of Arkansas

K–12 Online Learning and School Choice: Growth and Expansion in the Absence of Evidence

Abstract

In this paper, the author situates school choice within the field of K-12 online learning, specifically the use of full-time K-12 online learning in the form of cyber charter schools. The author then examines the use of cyber charter schools as a mechanism for school choice in K-12 online learning, specifically the effectiveness of cyber charter schools. This examination focuses on not just the findings, but critically examines the sources (and potential motivations) for those findings. Given the growth of full-time K-12 online learning, and the continued pressure by proponents to create favorable regulatory climates for cyber charter schools, a critical – but honest – examination of student outcomes is long overdue.

Author

  • Michael Kristopher Barbour, Touro University – California

As I was a part of this session, I didn’t take notes to be engaged in the participatory nature of the roundtable.  I do have the hand-out that I used for the session at:

https://www.academia.edu/32730228/Barbour_M._K._2017_April_._K_12_online_learning_and_school_choice_Growth_and_expansion_in_the_absence_of_evidence._A_roundtable_presentation_at_the_annual_meeting_of_the_American_Educational_Research_Association_San_Antonio_TX

AERA 2017 – Investigating the Relationship Between Students’ Online Engagement and Their Online Course Outcomes

The seventh session I’m blogging at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA) is:

Investigating the Relationship Between Students’ Online Engagement and Their Online Course Outcomes

  • In Event: Roundtable Session 20
    In Roundtable Session: 52.084-11 – Students’ Perceptions, Outcomes, Online Engagement, and Satisfaction

Sun, April 30, 8:15 to 9:45am, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Ballroom Level, Hemisfair Ballroom 3

Abstract

This study used data from the fall 2014 semester at Wisconsin Virtual School to examine whether patterns of student engagement in online courses were associated with course out-comes. Using group-based trajectory modeling, the study found that student enrollments in online courses followed one of six engagement patterns, with average engagement ranging from 1.5 hours to 6 or more hours per week. Most students (77 percent) steadily engaged in their online courses for 1.5 or 2.5 hours per week. Students who engaged in their online course for two or more hours per week had better course outcomes than students who engaged for few-er than two hours per week.

Authors

  • Peggy Clements, American Institutes for Research
  • Heather Lavigne, Education Development Center, Inc.
  • Angela Pazzaglia, Education Development Center, Inc.
  • Erin Stafford, Education Development Center, Inc.

As I noted in the previous entry I have made it to AERA, but I’m actually chairing a session on Learning From the Federal Market-Based Reforms: Lessons for the Every Student Succeeds Act.  So if you are in this session, please post your notes in the comments below.

AERA 2017 – Parents’ Use of Litigation to Enhance the Experience of Students With Disabilities in Online Schools In Event: Litigation Trends in K–12 Education Relating to Students With Special Needs and School Privatization

The sixth session I’m blogging at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA) is:

Parents’ Use of Litigation to Enhance the Experience of Students With Disabilities in Online Schools

  • In Event: Litigation Trends in K–12 Education Relating to Students With Special Needs and School Privatization

Sun, April 30, 8:15 to 9:45am, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Meeting Room Level, Room 217 B

Abstract

Virtual schooling is gaining in popularity in the United States. Parents increasingly view online schooling as a viable option for their children with disabilities as schools promise to deliver individualized, self-paced instruction and provide additional supports either within the home or at regional centers. Parents play an important role in online schooling because most of this form of education is provided in the child’s home over the Internet. This research analyzes the opportunities and trials of virtual schooling for students with disabilities by examining the legal challenges parents have brought surrounding their participation. It identifies common problems and concludes with suggestions for both parents and schools on structuring a successful experience for students with disabilities in virtual learning environments.

Authors

  • Regina R. Umpstead, Central Michigan University
  • Nicole Snyder, Latsha Davis & McKenna
  • Linda Weiss, Central Michigan University

While I have actually made it to AERA, I’m actually chairing a session on Learning From the Federal Market-Based Reforms: Lessons for the Every Student Succeeds Act  – which means I’m not in the room to take notes.  So if you are in this session, please post your notes in the comments below.

April 29, 2017

AERA 2017 – Extending Scopes: Teachers’ Experience of Teaching Mathematics and Physics in the Israeli Virtual High School In Event: Technology Integration in Mathematics and Computer Science Education

The fifth session I’m blogging at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA) is:

Extending Scopes: Teachers’ Experience of Teaching Mathematics and Physics in the Israeli Virtual High School

  • In Event: Technology Integration in Mathematics and Computer Science Education

Sat, April 29, 10:35am to 12:05pm, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Fourth Floor, Crockett D

Abstract

The phenomenon of the growing number of virtual schools engenders new conditions for teaching and learning. It is thus imperative to better understand these conditions and their impact on effective teaching and learning. This paper explores teachers’ experiences of a virtual high school through analyses of qualitative and quantitative data, which include ongoing communications with teachers from the virtual high school, an end-of-year summary meeting, and a 55-item questionnaire. Data analyses yielded several insights that pertain to pedagogical principles in the context of a virtual high school and that include personalized teacher-student relationships, new teaching skills, and emerging pedagogical, administrative, and technological challenges. Implications for providing potentially better conditions for learning in virtual contexts are discussed.

Authors

  • Osnat Fellus, University of Ottawa
  • Yaniv Biton
  • Dafna Raviv, Center for Educational Technology

Now I have no notes on this session, as I am still in California.  However, if you are in this session, please post your notes in the comments below.

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