How the study was conducted
During February through August 2008 IESD and CREP conducted an evaluation research study involving more than 250 students in grades 2, 4, and 6 that were enrolled in four full-time, online public schools: Arizona Virtual Academy, California Virtual Academy at San Diego, Idaho Virtual Academy, and Ohio Virtual Academy.
Parents, teachers, and students completed evaluations of students’ social skills and problem behaviors, using the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS), published by Pearson Assessments (Gresham & Elliot, 1990)—an evaluation instrument that has been widely used in numerous studies and described as the most comprehensive instrument of its kind because of its multi-source approach (allowing for ratings by teachers, parents, and students themselves). These evaluations were then compared to national norms for the SSRS, including both norms across the elementary grades and norms for specific grade/gender categories (e.g., grade 2 females).
The study also collected information from parents (via a survey) about reasons for choosing a full-time, online public school; students’ involvement in activities outside of school; and parents’ perspectives on the impact of online public schooling.
The study was sponsored by K¹² Inc., the nation’s leading provider of K-12 proprietary curriculum and online school programs, with approval from the independent governing boards of the four participating online public schools. However, the findings and conclusions in the study represent IESD and CREP’s independent analysis of the collected data.
The comprehensive report and white paper summary can be found at www.k12.com/socialization-study.
Interactive Educational Systems Design (IESD), Inc. provides a variety of services related to research and evaluation, marketing, and development of educational software, multimedia products, websites, and print-based instructional programs. IESD has performed research and analysis for a number of education clients including non-profit institutions, government agencies, and school districts.
The Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP) at The University of Memphis has served as a leading resource in educational research, evaluation, and consultation since 1989. CREP’s areas of expertise include quantitative and qualitative evaluation research methods in numerous fields, including literacy, education technology, and school improvement and effectiveness.