8. A CASE STUDY OF EXTERNAL EVALUATION IN SUPPORT OF A NEW VIRTUAL SCHOOL

Kevin Oliver and Tracy Weeks

Abstract

Evaluation is a critical tool that virtual school leaders can employ to continuously improve their programming. In this chapter, evaluation strategies undertaken by the North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) are summarized, and findings are paired with resulting actions to illustrate how evaluation can be useful to inform student preparation and advising, support for student differences, teaching and learning strategies, content and course development, and overall policy.

Discussion Questions

1. Drawing from a virtual school Web site, determine student and course variables that could be useful in an evaluation study. Write a related evaluation question based on comparison.

2. Drawing from a virtual school Web site, identify pre-existing data sources that could be useful in an evaluation study. What additional data sources could be solicited from stakeholders?

3. Discuss appropriate strategies a virtual school could take to prepare students for taking virtual courses, and to advise students once enrolled in virtual courses.

4. Discuss strategies a virtual school could take to standardize its course development efforts and ensure a consistently high quality product is delivered to students.

5. Discuss strategies a virtual school could take to standardize expectations for teachers and ensure students receive consistently high quality teaching.

Additional Resources

American Evaluation Association - http://www.eval.org

Attwell, G. (2011). Evaluating e-learning: A guide to the evaluation of e-learning. Evaluate Europe Handbook Series (Vol. 2). Retrieved from http://www.pontydysgu.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/eva_europe_vol2_prefinal.pdf

Banks, A., Bodkin, C., & Heissel, J. (2011). Evaluating the effectiveness of the North Carolina Virtual Public Schools system. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Retrieved from, http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/intern-research/reports/ncvps.pdf

Clark, T. (2014). Quality assurance: monitoring and evaluation to inform practice and leadership. Paper 2, Microsoft in Education Transformation Network series. Retrieved from http://download.microsoft.com/download/8/E/4/8E4D5383-058A-431E-9090-1F241AC23246/1_MS_EDU_TransformationPapers/3_MS_EDU_QualityAssurance.pdf

Davis, N. E., & Roblyer, M. D. (2005). Preparing teachers for the “schools that technology built”: Evaluation of a program to train teachers for virtual schooling. Journal of Research on Technology in Education 37(4), 399-409.

Locke, G., Ableidinger, J., Hassel, B. C., Barrett, S. K. (2014). Virtual schools: Assessing progress and accountability. Final report of study findings. Washington, DC: National Charter School Resource Center. Retrieved from, http://www.charterschoolcenter.org/sites/default/files/Virtual%20Schools%20Accountability%20Report.pdf

Miron, G., & Urschel, J. (2012). Understanding and improving full-time virtual schools: A study of student characteristics, school finance, and school performance in schools operated by K12 Inc. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/understanding-improving-virtual

Reid, K. M., Aqui, Y., & Putney, L. G. (2009). Evaluation of an evolving virtual high school. Educational Media International, 46(4), 281-294.

Southern Region Education Board. (2006). Checklist for evaluating online courses. Atlanta, GA: Author. Retrieved from http://publications.sreb.org/2006/06T06_Checklist_for_Evaluating-Online-Courses.pdf

Southern Region Education Board (2006). Online teaching evaluation for state virtual schools. Atlanta, GA: Author. Retrieved from http://publications.sreb.org/2006/06T04_Online_teaching_evaluation_checklist.pdf

U.S. Department of Education. (2008). Evaluating online learning: Challenges and strategies for success. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/academic/evalonline/evalonline.pdf

Vick, M. (2012). Analyzing breadth and depth of a virtual charter school’s science curriculum. US-China Education Review, A(2), 149-163.

References

Creswell, J. W., & Clark, V. L. P. (2007). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Kellogg, S., & Oliver, K. (under review). Credit recovery in a virtual school: Student needs and the affordances of online learning.

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research based strategies for improving student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Oliver, K. M. (2010). Success 101: Preliminary evaluation report. Raleigh, NC: William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.

Oliver, K. M., Brady, K., Patel, R., & Osborne, J. (2008). 2007–2008 evaluation report: North Carolina Virtual Public School. Raleigh, NC: William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.

Oliver, K. M., Brady, K., Patel, R., & Townsend, T. (2009). 2008–2009 evaluation report: North Carolina Virtual Public School. Raleigh, NC: William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.

Oliver, K., Kellogg, S., & Patel, R. (2009). An investigation into reported differences between online foreign language instruction and other subject areas in a virtual school. CALICO Journal, 29(2), 269–296.

Oliver, K., Kellogg, S., & Patel, R. (2010). An investigation into reported differences between online math instruction and other subject areas in a virtual school. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 29(4), 417–453.

Oliver, K., Kellogg, S., Townsend, L., & Brady, K. (2010). Needs of elementary and middle school teachers developing online courses for a virtual school. Distance Education, 31(1), 55–75.

Oliver, K., Osborne, J., & Brady, K. (2009). What are secondary students’ expectations for teachers in virtual school environments? Distance Education, 30(1), 23–45.

Oliver, K., Osborne, J., Patel, R., & Kleiman, G. (2008). Issues surrounding the deployment of a new statewide virtual public school. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 10(1), 37–50.

Osborne, J. W., Oliver, K. M., Patel, R., & Holcomb, L. (2007). Summer 2007 evaluation report: North Carolina Virtual Public School. Raleigh, NC: William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.