News

Course Access policies focus on equitable learning

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor, @eSN_Laura
October 24th, 2014

iNACOL report offers recommendations to implement policies that help students build college- and career-ready skills

course-accessThe answer to ensuring that all students have equitable access to the courses that will prepare them to be college- and career-ready could be found in a state policy known as Course Access, according to a new report from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL).

Federal data indicates that only 50 percent of U.S. high schools offer calculus and just 63 percent offer physics, meaning that students in the other 50 percent of schools don’t even have the chance to enroll in these advanced courses. But Course Access policies, funded by public education dollars, would ensure that all students have equal access to the online, blended, and face-to-face educational opportunities that help them become college and career ready.

This lack of equitable K-12 course access persists in college and through to the workforce, according to the report, which notes that minorities and underrepresented student groups traditionally have low access to high school STEM courses, and, therefore, are underrepresented in STEM professional fields.

Students often lose interest in STEM fields as early as middle school, and research shows that sustaining STEM interest through high school is a big predictor of college and workforce STEM participation. But Course Access can change that by offering consistent learning opportunities that sustain student interest in STEM.

(Next page: How Course Access expands opportunities for all students)