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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2021118 Variations in District Strategies for Remote Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In spring 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an unprecedented and abrupt stoppage of in-person learning in schools across the country. State education agency leaders in Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming needed information on proposed strategies in districts’ remote learning plans to ensure continuity and better support remote learning in their states. This study used document analysis to examine proposed strategies related to infrastructure; strategies and supports for instruction; and supports for teachers, students, and parents. Findings are presented separately by district Internet connectivity level, district poverty quartile, and district locale. These findings represent variations in district remote learning plans across the four states included in the study.

The study found that proposed remote learning strategies varied considerably and were often related to district characteristics. For instance, a higher percentage of districts with higher Internet connectivity before the pandemic proposed support for home-based Internet; full student access to devices; technology support; and additional supports for teachers, students, and parents. In addition, a higher percentage of nonrural districts and high-poverty districts proposed supports for students and parents, such as one-on-one meetings between students and teachers and resources for parents on remote learning.

Although district capacity to implement remote learning has likely improved since the start of the pandemic, state education agency leaders can use the findings in this report to consider providing more support to districts with persistent Internet connectivity challenges. Leaders can also use the report to inform additional data collection to examine how remote learning strategies have evolved and to help determine the implications of the shift on student learning.

9/27/2021
REL 2021105 Cost-Feasibility Analysis Toolkit for Supplemental Online Programs: User Guide
Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia researchers developed the Cost-Feasibility Analysis (CFA) Toolkit to help education leaders estimate whether implementing supplemental online programs is affordable given a school or district's available resources. The CFA Toolkit guides users through a four-stage process that yields cost information that can support decisionmaking about implementing such a program. The toolkit includes guidance, helpful resources, and an Excel-based cost-estimation tool that supports users with planning (stage 1), collecting data (stage 2), estimating program costs (stage 3), and determining the feasibility of implementing the supplemental online program (stage 4).
7/28/2021
NFES 2021078 Forum Guide to Virtual Education Data: A Resource for Education Agencies
The Forum Guide to Virtual Education Data: A Resource for Education Agencies is designed to assist agencies with collecting data in virtual education settings, incorporating the data into governance processes and policies, and using the data to improve virtual education offerings. This resource reflects lessons learned by the education data community during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and provides recommendations that will help agencies collect and use virtual education data.
6/25/2021
NCES 2021456 2019–20 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:20): First Look at the Impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on Undergraduate Student Enrollment, Housing, and Finances (Preliminary Data)
This First Look publication provides preliminary results of the 2019–20 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:20), with a particular focus on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affected student experiences. The report includes information for about 61,000 undergraduate students attending postsecondary institutions in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Since NPSAS:20 is designed to be nationally representative, the data used in this report provide the first national estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on postsecondary students. This First Look describes pandemic disruptions to students’ enrollment, housing, and finances, as well as how institutions supported and informed students on these and other impacts.
6/16/2021
REL 2021056 Exploring Teachers’ Influence on Student Success in an Online Biology Course
This study of an online high school biology course offered by Florida Virtual School examined the amount of variation in course completion, students’ final exam scores, and time to completion that is attributable to the influence of teachers. This study examined three different student outcomes for segment 1 of the course: the rate of course completion, score on the final exam at the end of the course segment, and time taken to complete the segment. Students' end-of-segment exam varied only slightly across teachers, but teachers showed more influence on completion rates and time to completion. As a result, students with the highest- and lowest-performing teachers had notable differences in their time to completion and minor differences in course completion and exam scores.
1/6/2021
NCES 2020088 Public-Use Data Files and Documentation (FRSS 109): 2018-19 Teachers' Use of Technology for School and Homework Assignments
This product contains data from a Fast Response Survey System (FRSS) survey titled "2018-19 Teachers' Use of Technology for School and Homework Assignments." This survey provides nationally representative data on public school teachers about their understanding of the types of devices and technologies that students use for educational purposes, the impact that student access to technology outside of school has on homework assignments, and ways that schools and teachers address challenges that students with limited access to technology face in completing homework assignments. Data were collected in the 2018-19 school year, the year before the coronavirus pandemic outbreak in 2020. It focuses on information that can best be provided by teachers from their perspective and direct interaction with students.

The survey provides nationally representative data of public school teachers who taught at least one regularly scheduled class in grades 3–12 and taught either self-contained classes or departmentalized classes in one or more of the core subjects of English/language arts, social studies/social science, math, or science. Data were provided by approximately 2,900 teachers from sampled from 1,600 schools. Computers were defined to include desktop and laptop computers, as well as tablets with a virtual or physical keyboard. Smartphones were not included in the definition of computers, but separate information was collected for smartphones.

Documentation provides information about the purpose of the study, the sample design, the data collection procedures, the data processing procedures, response rates, imputation, weighting and standard error calculation and use, the data files and codebooks, and the file layout of the ASCII data file. The ASCII data and a SAS version of the data file are also provided.
9/9/2020
NCES 2020089 Restricted-Use Data Files and Documentation (FRSS 109): 2018-19 Teachers’ Use of Technology for School and Homework Assignments
This product contains data from a Fast Response Survey System (FRSS) survey titled "2018-19 Teachers’ Use of Technology for School and Homework Assignments." This survey provides nationally representative data on public school teachers about their understanding of the types of devices and technologies that students use for educational purposes, the impact that student access to technology outside of school has on homework assignments, and ways that schools and teachers address challenges that students with limited access to technology face in completing homework assignments. Data were collected in the 2018-19 school year, the year before the coronavirus pandemic outbreak in 2020. It focuses on information that can best be provided by teachers from their perspective and direct interaction with students.

The survey provides nationally representative data of public school teachers who taught at least one regularly scheduled class in grades 3–12 and taught either self-contained classes or departmentalized classes in one or more of the core subjects of English/language arts, social studies/social science, math, or science. Data were provided by approximately 2,900 teachers from sampled from 1,600 schools. Computers were defined to include desktop and laptop computers, as well as tablets with a virtual or physical keyboard. Smartphones were not included in the definition of computers, but separate information was collected for smartphones.

Documentation provides information about the purpose of the study, the sample design, the data collection procedures, the data processing procedures, response rates, imputation, weighting and standard error calculation and use, the data files and codebooks, and the file layout of the ASCII data file. The ASCII data and a SAS version of the data file are also provided.

Note that the public use version of the data under NCES-2020088 has much of the same information. The restricted-use file has an NCES school ID and Census region information not included in the public-use data.
9/9/2020
WWC IR010120 Intervention Report: Open Learning Initiative (OLI)
OLI provides high-quality online courses and learning materials to instructors and learners at low or no cost. The interactive OLI courses feature machine-guided instruction, immediate feedback, exploratory virtual laboratories, worked examples, and practice problems. Most OLI courses are open to both independent learners and students in instructor-led courses. OLI provides content that ranges in length from several-hour modules to full-semester courses. Independent learners may complete the material at their own pace, while students in instructor-led courses may be assigned to complete the material in a specified timeframe.
1/20/2020
REL 2017228 Summary of research on online and blended learning programs that offer differentiated learning options
This report presents a summary of empirical studies of K-12 online and blended instructional approaches that offer differentiated learning options. In these approaches, instruction is provided in whole or in part online. This report includes studies that examine student achievement outcomes and summarizes the methodology, measures, and findings used in the studies of these instructional approaches. Of the 162 studies that were reviewed, 17 met all inclusion criteria and are summarized in this report. The majority of the studies examined blended instructional approaches, while all approaches provided some means to differentiate the content, difficulty level, and/or pacing of the online content. Among the blended instructional approaches, 45 percent were designed to support differentiation of the in-class component of instruction. The majority of studies examining these approaches compared student performance on common standardized achievement measures between students receiving the instructional approach and those in comparison classrooms or schools. Among the most rigorous studies, statistically significant positive effects were found for four blended instructional approaches.
2/28/2017
REL 2017177 Academic outcomes for North Carolina Virtual Public School credit recovery students
This report describes the results of a REL Southeast study comparing short- and longer-term student successes after completion of online credit recovery courses compared to student successes after completion of other credit recovery options, such as traditional face-to-face courses and summer school courses. Credit recovery refers to when a student fails a course and then retakes the same course to earn high school credit. This research question was motivated by the growing importance of online learning in traditional public school settings and a desire on the part of many stakeholders to understand better how students are adjusting to that transition. The data for this study covered eleven core high school courses (courses required for graduation) taken between 2008/09 and 2011/12 in North Carolina. The study compares the likelihood of a student: (a) succeeding on the state end-of-course test for the recovered course; (b) succeeding in the next course in a recovered course sequence (for instance, in English II after English I); (c) remaining in school after credit recovery; and (d) graduating and graduating on time. Results suggest that there was little difference between the short-term success rates of students who completed state-supported online credit recovery and students who completed other credit recovery options. However, on measures of longer-term success, students who completed state-provided online credit recovery courses and did not subsequently drop out were more likely than other credit recovery students to graduate on time. Among credit recovery participants in state-provided online courses, Black students were less likely to reach proficiency in their recovered courses but more likely than their peers to succeed in later coursework after their online experience. Because of limitations in the analyses possible with available data, it is not possible to directly attribute these outcomes to participation in online credit recovery, but the results do point toward intriguing and potentially beneficial areas for future, more rigorous study.
10/25/2016
NFES 2016096 Forum Guide to Education Data Privacy
The Forum Guide to Education Data Privacy was developed as a resource for state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) to use in assisting school staff in protecting the confidentiality of student data in instructional and administrative practices. SEAs and LEAs may also find the guide useful in developing privacy programs and related professional development programs.
7/7/2016
REL 2016157 Stated Briefly An analysis of student engagement patterns and online course outcomes in Wisconsin
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. The purpose of the study was to identify distinct patterns—or trajectories—of students' engagement within their online courses over time and examine whether these patterns were associated with their academic outcomes in the online course. The study used data collected by Wisconsin Virtual School's learning management system and student information system, including 1,512 student enrollments in 109 online elective, core, and Advanced Placement high school courses. Group-based trajectory modeling was employed to estimate the number and shapes of engagement patterns evident in the sample, and hierarchical linear modeling assessed the associations between engagement group membership and course outcomes, controlling for demographic characteristics. Analyses revealed six distinct patterns of student engagement in online courses. Students with relatively low but steady engagement had better outcomes than students with similar initial engagement that diminished throughout the course. Overall, students engaging two or more hours per week had better online course outcomes than students who engaged less than two hours per week.
7/6/2016
REL 2016147 An analysis of student engagement patterns and online course outcomes in Wisconsin
Student enrollment in online courses has increased over the past 15 years and continues to grow. However, there is much that is not known about students' educational experiences and outcomes in online courses. The purpose of the study conducted by REL Midwest in partnership with the Virtual Education Research Alliance was to identify distinct patterns—or trajectories—of students' engagement within their online courses over time and examine whether these patterns were associated with their academic outcomes in the online course. The study used data collected by Wisconsin Virtual School's learning management system and student information system, including 1,512 student enrollments in 109 online elective, core, and Advanced Placement high school courses. Group-based trajectory modeling was employed to estimate the number and shapes of engagement patterns evident in the sample, and hierarchical linear modeling assessed the associations between engagement group membership and course outcomes, controlling for demographic characteristics. Analyses revealed six distinct patterns of student engagement in online courses: Initial 1.5 Hours with Decrease, Steady 1.5 Hours, Initial 2 Hours with Spike, Steady 2.5 Hours, 4+ Hours, and 6+ Hours. Students with relatively low but steady engagement had better outcomes than students with similar initial engagement that diminished throughout the course. Overall, students engaging two or more hours per week had better online course outcomes than students who engaged less than two hours per week. Wisconsin Virtual School directors and directors of other online learning programs can use information from this study to consider the supports they implement to help students successfully complete their courses, especially students who display engagement patterns that are associated with poorer course outcomes. Other online learning programs across the country can use the results of this project as a framework for investigating the data they have available in their learning management systems and student information systems.
7/6/2016
REL 2016139 Online credit recovery: Enrollment and passing patterns in Montana Digital Academy courses
Most U.S. school districts (88 percent) offer credit recovery programs that allow students to make up courses that they need to meet graduation requirements. Online credit recovery options are popular, especially in rural states, because they allow schools to serve students in remote areas throughout the year, across a range of subjects, and with few additional resources. Such programs offer students greater flexibility and choice, which results in more opportunities to make up classes and a greater likelihood that they will stay in school and stay on track to graduate. Despite the growing popularity of online credit recovery courses, however, there is still little research about which students take these courses or how well they perform in them. This REL Northwest report addresses that gap by examining 2013/14 data from the Montana Digital Academy (MTDA), the only statewide funded program offering online credit recovery courses in Montana. The report provides a descriptive analysis of course-enrollment and course-completion patterns and also draws on interviews with education leaders across Montana to provide context and to describe other credit recovery strategies in the state. The analysis finds that more boys than girls enroll in MTDA online credit recovery courses, and students in grades 10 and 11 make up a larger proportion of MTDA student enrollment than those in grades 9 or 12. More students enroll in MTDA online credit recovery courses in English language arts than any other subject area. Slightly less than 60 percent of MTDA online credit recovery students receive a passing grade, with passing rates lowest in math (49 percent) and English language arts (52 percent). Also, students who take one MTDA online credit recovery course per semester have lower passing rates (40 percent) than those who take multiple courses in a semester. The report offers educators an early look at the potential of online credit recovery courses to help struggling students get back on track to graduation. It can also help state leaders compare MTDA to other online programs and to identify possible areas for additional investigation or improvement when designing credit recovery options.
6/28/2016
REL 2016127 Stated Briefly: Professional experiences of online teachers in Wisconsin: Results from a survey about training and challenges
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. REL Midwest, in partnership with the Midwest Virtual Education Research Alliance, analyzed the results of a survey administered to Wisconsin Virtual School teachers about the training in which they participated related to online instruction, the challenges they encounter while teaching online, and the type of training they thought would help them address those challenges. REL Midwest researchers and Virtual Education Research Alliance members collaborated to develop the survey based on items from the Going Virtual! survey (Dawley et al., 2010; Rice & Dawley, 2007; Rice et al., 2008). Wisconsin Virtual School administered the survey to its 54 teachers, and 49 (91 percent) responded to the survey. The responses of the 48 teachers who indicated that they taught an online course during the 2013/14 or 2014/15 school year were analyzed for the report. Results indicate that all Wisconsin Virtual School teachers reported participating in training or professional development related to online instruction and that more teachers reported participating in training that occurred while teaching online than prior to teaching online or during preservice education. The teachers most frequently reported challenges related to students' perseverance and engagement and indicated that they preferred unstructured professional development to structured professional development to help them address those challenges. Further research is needed to determine what types of professional development and training are most effective in improving teaching practice, especially related to student engagement and perseverance.
2/17/2016
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