virtual schools

Are virtual schools failing students?


A new study questions how virtual schools can best serve students, given poor performance measures

A new in-depth analysis of school performance measures for full-time virtual and blended schools indicates they might not be as successful as traditional public schools.

The data comes from the National Education Policy Center’s (NEPC) Sixth Annual Report on Virtual Education, Full-Time Virtual and Blended Schools: Enrollment, Student Characteristics, and Performance.

Virtual schools continued to under-perform academically, including in comparison to blended schools. Overall, 36.4 percent of full-time virtual schools and 43.1 percent of blended schools received acceptable performance ratings.

Despite the data, virtual school enrollment has continued to grow, particularly as more school districts open their own virtual schools, although those district-run virtual schools remain smaller in size.

District-run virtual schools seem to perform better than charter virtual schools, the study finds. District-operated schools saw acceptable performance ratings of 53.8 percent, compared to charter-operated schools with 20.7 percent.

Laura Ascione

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