After taking some time to reflect and examine eQUIP’s data from the 2017-2018 school year, I wanted to note a few observations and insights. Keep in mind there is no research or deep statistical models in place, so takes these just for what they are: observations.
2017-2018 saw a big jump in part-time student usage for online learning.
From 2012-2016 we averaged 111 part-time students a year taking courses. During the 2017-2018 school year, we had 447 part-time students. A third of this jump can be accounted for by a couple districts using eQUIP to cover for district teacher shortages. In the first instance, a district had a teacher out on maternity leave and they turned to online learning rather than bringing in a long term substitute. In the second instance, a district lost a science teacher and used online learning to cover the vacancy for the rest of the school year. After taking these instances into account, there was still an increase of almost 200 part-time users.
The biggest reason for this increase was a 75% increase in the number of credit recovery courses taken. This makes sense as many districts tried online learning for summer school for the first time. While we do not have enough data to state this as a trend, it is something we believe will continue as it is a cost effective way to get students the credits they need to move onto the next grade or graduate.
2017-2018 saw an uptick in student scores across completed courses.
The table below shows our students’ performance on completed courses in relation to the averages over the last six years
|Grade of 60% or Better||Grade of 70% or Better|
After looking at the data, much of this increase comes from the part-time students enrolled in the program. Credit recovery contributed some but not all of the increase. Students also took elective courses and courses not offered in the school. This increase might be because students are taking courses they enjoy. Another possibility is that students are looking to accelerate their learning. These students generally perform better in courses across the board.
Online Learning Continues to Grow
The only thing we can say with relative certainty is that online learning is not going away. Two more districts and a private school started this year. Another district is interested. There are 19 school districts in our region. All but a couple of them run an online academy of some sort (whether via eQUIP or another means). Schools are also learning that it is a cost effective way to provide summer school and additional electives to students.
Finally, we are seeing a 50% increase in enrollments even now as compared to last year. 11 of 13 school districts that we serve have seen an increase in students and courses this year. These numbers speak to the staying power of online education in our schools.