Virtual School Meanderings

July 8, 2020

Think Twice Review: Lack Of Evidence, Incorrect Methodology Discredit Reports On Charter School Impacts

Another note on that think tank report review by the National Education Policy Center.

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Two reports written by Reason Foundation authors examine different aspects of the impacts of charter schools. The first report asks whether the frequency of student misbehavior is lower in Pennsylvania charter schools compared to public schools. The second report asks whether principals of public schools in Texas change budget allocations when faced with the threat of charter school competition. The authors pose interesting questions regarding the advantages of charter schools, but do not provide adequate evidence to back their claims. Read on to learn more.

Dr. Gretchen Dziadosz 
Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice


Think Twice Reviewer Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, reviewed “Are Charter Schools Safer than District-Run Schools? Evidence from Pennsylvania” and “Effects of Charter School Competition on District School Budgeting Decisions: Experimental Evidence from Texas.” The two reports look at impacts of charter schools that are studied less frequently.


Fuller found the two reports fall short in providing evidence to back their claims.

The first report on Pennsylvania’s schools shows rates of student infractions on average are lower in charter schools. Using that data, the author states outcomes for students would improve if access to public charter schools in the state were increased. The author also states the methods of compiling the data are limited and the results can be defined as correlational instead of causal.

Fuller stated it is unclear whether differences in the data are due to the selection of “certain kinds of families” in charter schools, or from the organizational practices of charter schools. He noted the lower rate of student infractions comes from data in Philadelphia County, which serves large populations of disadvantaged students. However, it does not cover other parts of the state.

The second report makes the claim that principals in Texas will change how they allocate school budgets if faced with the threat of competition from the opening of a hypothetical charter school. The report claims principals change budget allocations for different positions and instructional resources and claims anticipated charter school competition has “large negative effects” on reported spending in certain categories of support staff.

Fuller determined the report provides little significant statistical information because it was informed by just 8% of Texas principals who participated in a statewide survey. As a result, it would be difficult to generalize the report’s findings, he concluded.

Neither report should be used to help determine education policy due to their lack of evidence to support their wide-ranging claims.

Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.


The two reports do not offer enough evidence to support their claims and are flawed in their methodology. Due to their limited scope, the reports should not inform education policy decisions.


  1. New reports by Reason Foundation authors do not offer enough evidence to support their claims about certain impacts of charter schools in Pennsylvania and Texas.
  1. The review found the reports do not use enough evidence or correct methodology in examining the impacts of charter schools on student behavior and budget allocations.
  1. The reports are of little practical use to policymakers due to their lack of evidence.


Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
New reports by the Reason Foundation do not offer enough evidence about certain impacts of charter schools in Pennsylvania and Texas. New reports by the Reason Foundation do not offer enough evidence about certain impacts of charter schools in Pennsylvania and Texas.
A new review by @NEPCtweet found recent Reason Foundation reports do not provide enough evidence or correct methodology in determining impacts of charter schools on student behavior and budget allocations A new review by @NEPCtweet found recent Reason Foundation reports do not provide enough evidence or correct methodology in determining impacts of charter schools on student behavior and budget allocations
A new review by @NEPCtweet found a Reason Foundation report fails to provide adequate evidence to support its claims about student behavior and budget allocations. A new review by @NEPCtweet found a Reason Foundation report fails to provide adequate evidence to support its claims about student behavior and budget allocations.
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July 7, 2020

[AECT] July 6, 2020 – News & Notes


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July 6, 2020


During this very difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions are seeing their budgets cut severely. Both in the U.S. and around the world, these reductions have forced institutions to reduce salaries, to freeze research funding, and to do away with travel subsidies. This dire reality has made it difficult for some of our members to pay for the registration fee in order to attend this years convention. Therefore, we are asking those who are able to do so to donate to the “2020 AECT Scholarship Fund” that will enable those AECT members facing financial challenges to attend this years conference. This fund has been approved by the AECT Board of Directors.

Thank you in advance for your help. Any amount you can give will be greatly appreciated both by the recipients and by the entire AECT community.

Please Click Here to Make Your Donation .


Theme: Towards Culturally-situated Learning Design and Research
Submission Deadline: July 12, 2020

AECT 2020 Virtual Convention is putting out the last call for proposals that are aligned with the theme Towards culturally-situated learning design and research. This last call is based on the following considerations in response to the suggestions of some AECT members:

  • Since this years convention is going online, there may be members or non-members who had not planned to attend the in-person AECT convention due to various reasons but may have changed their mind and wanted to submit a proposal to attend the virtual conference;
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be some timely and emerging research to address education in emergent situations; and
  • With the online conference, we are able to accept more proposals and offer more sessions.

Full details can be found here:

Dates for AECT 2020 Virtual Convention

October 29 (Thursday) and October 30 (Friday)
Pre-Conference (i.e., Workshops, and Early Career Seminars, etc.)

November 2 (Monday) through November 7 (Saturday)
Conference (i.e., presentations, members’ meetings, social events, etc.)

Learning: Design, Engagement and Definition

This year AECT will host the Annual Summer Research Symposium as a virtual conference on July 22-23, 2020. All AECT journals, including ETR&D and TechTrends, will have editors or representatives participate, recruit future reviewers and solicit articles for possible publication. Registration details can be found here.


The Leadership Development Committee call for presenters for a panel presentation on the uses of and experiences with social media for division leadership development and membership engagement at the 2020 AECT Virtual Summer Research Symposium. Each presenter will be allocated 10 minutes to present, followed by a 20-minute Q&A session. The possible topics for presentations include:

  • Uses of social media for leadership development and membership engagement, especially during the pandemic
  • Social media tools and tips for division leadership activities
  • Benefits and challenges of using social media during the pandemic
  • Experiences with using social media during the pandemic
  • Ethical considerations for social media use
  • Diverse audience considerations for social media
  • Other topics as appropriate and aligned with AECT social media use

Please submit a summary (150-200 words) of your proposed presentation to Fatih Ari . The deadline for submitting the presentation proposals is July 6, 2020.

The 2019 Intern Class is conducting a needs analysis of mentorship needs, experiences, and recommendations across the AECT membership for their Intern Class project.

May we request you to complete this 15-min. survey questionnaire . The information collected will be used to propose a sustainable mentoring framework within the association.

The International Division is hosting a Professional Development webinar on Friday, July 10th (3 PM US Eastern Time) . The webinar will focus on the career of instructional design and will feature a panel of distinguished instructional designers. Topics will include how to enter the field, the types of work involved, and the knowledge and skills required. The webinar is free and open to all. Please RSVP to attend. (Direct Link: ).

The Systems Thinking & Change (STC) division of AECT is accepting chapter proposals focused on providing case analysis of a complex problem from the systems thinking and change perspective. Proposed chapters will be considered for an upcoming edited volume entitled: Using Systems Thinking to Foster Continuous Improvement and Manage Change Efforts: Case Studies for the Everyday Practitioner .

Deadline to submit is July 12thDetails can be found here.


Designing Instruction for an Imperfect World

The Journal of Formative Design in Learning (JDFL) is pleased to announce the second annual Writers’ Workshop to be held in early November 2020. The theme for this year is based on the idea that we are living in the era of  Information Exasperation.

Submission deadline is September 1, 2020 .  Full details can be found here. 


Tech Trends Special Section – Failure and Creative Risk in Technology-Enhanced Learning
Notions of learning through failure have suddenly become incredibly popular, and this phenomenon of celebrating creativity through failure is frequently revered in the tech-center of the world, Silicon Valley. Yet, it is not failure that is being celebrated, but failure of a specific kind: failure that leads to creative solutions that lead to corporate, bottom-line success. These ideas of creative success emerging from failure have also spread into mainstream culture, and through that, into educational discourse.

The full call for proposals can be found here Proposals Due – July 30, 2020.

Special Issue—Shifting to digital: Informing the rapid development, deployment, and future of teaching and learning

Educational Technology Research and Development (ETR&D ) is seeking perspective authors for an upcoming Special Issue (SI): “Shifting to digital: Informing the rapid development, deployment and future of teaching and learning.” This SI is unique in that it will only include brief multiple-perspective responses on the implications of recent ETR&D publications for addressing challenges related to an increased focus of digital learning. The 500-1000-word responses are to be submitted to the Editorial Manager by July 31, 2020 . The SI is planned to be published by October 1, 2020.  For more details and to volunteer to be an perspective author, please see to the Google Form .


AECT has put together some educational resources for educators (e.g., K12 and higher education instructors and students) in response to the COVID-19 crisis . It can be accessed from the AECT main page with the tab “COVID-19 Resources”.  Particularly highlighted are the “Resources: Higher Education” and “Resources: K-12 Education” , curated by AECT members with special evaluation and commentaries from the AECT expert panels. On the Webinar page , you will also find webinars with educators and researchers from K-12 to higher education from around the world sharing their perspectives, experiences, preparedness, and strategies in response to the educational challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please share these resources with your colleagues, students and anyone who may benefit from them.


Due to COVID-19 the AECT office is closed and personnel working remotely. We will continue to move AECT forward, making sure we are all prepared to deal with this situation. Please email us at . Provide your complete contact information and we’ll do our best to respond promptly. Have a great day and stay well.


University of West Florida now offers a fully online Doctorate of Education in Instructional Design and Technology. The project-based curriculum for this professional doctorate program is based on the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (CPED) framework and is led by experienced and hands-on faculty. The program prepares graduates to fulfill leadership roles related to organizational development, performance improvement, technology integration, and workplace learning across sectors. For more information contact Dr. Nancy Hastings.

Association for Educational Communications and Technology
Address: 320 W. 8th Street, Suite 101
Bloomington, IN 47404-3745
Toll Free: 877-677-2328 | Phone: 812-335-7675
News & Notes – July 6, 2020

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Congratulations Michael, You Achieved Top Stats Last Week

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With 473 new reads, your contributions were the most read contributions from your institution

July 6, 2020

Statistics In Education For Mere Mortals – MOOC Offered Again By Lloyd Rieber – July 6-August 10, 2020

I would strongly recommend this free professional learning to any practitioner that wanted a better understanding of statistics.  Additionally, any graduate student that may have to take a statistics course would easily benefit from this MOOC.

Hi everyone,

I am again offering my MOOC on introductory uses of statistics in education. This section begins on Monday and will run until August 10 on Here is the link to the course sign-up page:

The course is free. The course is self-paced with a relaxed start. So, signing up within the first 5 days will give all motivated people plenty of time to complete the course.

I made a short 3-minute ‘mash-up’ of a selection of the course’s videos to give people a taste of the course:

Also, all of the course videos are available on YouTube – here is a link to the playlist:

I designed the course for “mere mortals,” meaning that I designed it for people who want to know about and use statistics as but one important tool in their work, but who are not — and don’t want to be — mathematicians or statisticians. A special note that I also designed it with doctoral students in mind, especially those who are about to take their first statistics course. It could also be good for those students who just finished a statistics course, but are still fuzzy on the details.

However, this course would be useful to anyone who wants a good, short, hands-on, friendly introduction to the most fundamental ideas of statistics in education.

Here’s my approach … I provide a short presentation or two on each statistics topic, followed by a video tutorial where you build an Excel spreadsheet from scratch to compute the statistic. Then, I ask you to take a short quiz — consisting of sometimes just one question — where I ask you to plug in some new data into your spreadsheet and then copy and paste one of your new calculations as your answer. (And yes, there is also a short final exam at the end on the conceptual stuff.)

Examples of specific skills to be learned include the scales of measurement, measures of central tendency, measures of variability, and the computation of the following: mean, mode, and median, standard deviation, z (standard) scores, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (r), correlated-samples t test (i.e. dependent t test), independent-samples t test, and a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA).

This will be the (lucky) 13th time I will have taught this free online course. About 6700 people worldwide have enrolled in it to date.

Please spread the word.



* Lloyd P. Rieber
* Professor of Learning, Design, & Technology
* Head, Department of Career and Information Studies
* 129 River’s Crossing
* The University of Georgia
* Athens, Georgia  30602-4809  USA
* Phone: 706-542-3986
* FAX: 706-542-4054
* Email:
Lloyd’s LiveCode Blog:

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