A new report released by Fuel Education takes a closer look at the outcomes and benefits of the use of blended and online learning programs that involve Fuel Education curriculum.
For the report, "Outcomes of Blended and Online Learning Programs in Schools Using Fuel Education Curriculum," Evergreen Education Group compiled case studies for a total of nine schools that were using online curriculum and platforms provided by Fuel Education for their online and blended learning programs. Instructional models, practices, and outcomes of FuelEd-based programs were all observed and documented in an effort to determine any potential benefits involved in the use of these programs.
Five of the schools that used whole school programs, which comprised the entire school and all students enrolled, used one or multiple forms of an online and blended learning model. This approach varied by school, with each pushing different parts of online learning, blended learning, project-based learning, and traditional classroom instruction, in addition to various staffing patterns in order to offer their students a number of different options for learning.
Meanwhile, the other four schools used programs based on credit recovery and remediation that were used with a select number of students enrolled in traditional schools. These programs typically require students to attend classes in on-campus learning labs in order to recover credits or improve or accelerate their academic performance.
Researchers noted a number of different and positive results from each of the schools they observed. Most important, they said, was the relationship between the teacher and each individual student, which was supported through the flexible and comprehensive online curriculum.
Despite having varying goals and objectives, the whole school and credit recovery programs had several similarities which were found in all nine schools. For example, all schools made it a top priority to create strong, positive relationships between teachers and students. As a result, many of the teachers noted how having personal and background information on their students allowed them to better guide their students, and students felt like their teachers genuinely cared about them.
In addition, all nine schools used the FuelEd curriculum as their primary source of instruction, with many school leaders saying they liked that they could address the majority, if not all, of their instructional requirements using only one provider. Students also had access to online teachers as well as on-campus teachers for the same course, which most interacted with multiple times each day. Many said they received more personal attention through the programs than they did while enrolled in a traditional school setting.
All programs allowed students to work at their own pace, which many students cited as a reason for their success.
Teacher satisfaction was also rated highly, as many had the time to not only get to know but also work with individual students.
Student achievement in these programs were measured a variety of ways. For two of the whole school programs, a number of tools were used including DIBELS, PARCC, and NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP). One school found MAP scores for middle school math students average 242% of the typical growth seen, while elementary students averaged 140% of typical growth.
Other measures of success included graduation rates, re-enrollment rates, waiting lists, parent and community involvement, and teacher and student satisfaction. One school saw their graduation rate rise from 61% to 80% in just two years.
Additionally, some schools looked at the number of students who continued on to enroll in postsecondary school upon graduation. One whole school program saw 78% of their 2015 graduates go on to enroll in a postsecondary institution. Meanwhile, the national average is 65.9%.