Key findings of the Keeping Pace research include:
- New online programs are being developed every year, and the total number of online programs is increasing quickly.
- Myriad types of programs exist, mixing and matching among variables that include type of governance (state-led, charter, district, etc.); amount of instruction online (fully online, hybrid); course types; student types; geographic reach; and other variables.
- Promising practices, with demonstrated success, are being developed in teacher professional development, teacher management, communication between teachers and students, data management, course development, and other areas of practice.
- A small number of programs have attracted attention from policymakers due to questions about finances, quality, and ways in which the programs adhere to existing laws and regulations. There has been increased scrutiny of online programs, particularly full-time programs, in a few states, and programs that do not adhere to quality standards risk creating a backlash that could impair all online programs.
- Data to evaluate online programs against face-to-face education are lacking, in part because of shortcomings of state data systems and in part because online student populations are at most only 1-2% of the total.
Watson, J., & Ryan, J. (2007). Keeping pace with k – 12 online learning: A review of state-level policy and practice. United States: Clark County School District, Texas Education Agency, Florida Virtual School, Illinois Virtual High School, Connections Academy, Virtual High School, Odyssey Charter Schools, AT&T, & North American Council for Online Learning. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED535913.pdf