Boston — Aug. 31, 2015 —With online learning reshaping the face of education, some educators express fear about the shift to e-learning courses and whether they are producing the desired results for their students. However, a recent national survey of schools working with The Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.), a nonprofit empowering schools with the industry’s best online learning programs, demonstrates that the outcomes of skillfully-developed virtual courses lay those fears to rest. Thesurvey found that 95 percent of the teachers, students and administrators participating were satisfied with online education offered through VHS.
The evaluation of VHS schools also revealedthat 68 percent of VHS students that sat for an Advanced Placement® exam passed with a score of three or higher, almost 10 percent more than the national average. Additional findings accentuated a 93 percent retention rate of VHS members, an 88 percent student pass rate at the end of the program’s 2014 courses and an average 80 percent course completion rate from 2012 to 2014.
“All VHS courses are thoughtfully-developed with input from content experts and experienced teachers to support key content and skill development, ” said Kim Spangenberg, Associate Dean of STEM of VHS. “Our AP® curriculum is carefully paced and designed to engage students in a variety of activities using diverse media. This allows students to interact with content in multiple ways each week. Also, VHS AP® classes are taught by highly qualified instructors and provide ample opportunities for students to demonstrate knowledge, practice skills and employ feedback from their peers as well as their teacher.”
VHS AP® classes provide access to college-level coursework for students who would otherwise not have the opportunity due to budget restrictions, scheduling conflicts and/or lack of qualified teachers. The online courses often help districts serve students who may be interested in advanced level study in a particular subject but constitute too small a groupto meet the minimum threshold for offering the class within the district.
VHS AP® courses also keep students engaged by serving as a platform to connect them with peers across the country and around the world in a collaborative learning environment. Throughout their study,studentsfrom diverse backgrounds share their thoughts, experiences and opinions with peers. Likewise, the AP® course content includes a variety of resources for students to explore as well as vibrant class discussions, hands-on lab work for science courses and intriguing projects.
“VHS students gain a sense of community within their classroom as they interact with their peers and their teacher on a regular basis,”said Carol Ribeiro, President & CEO of VHS. “Students are expected to attend class regularly, participate in discussions weekly, share work and provide feedback to their peers. Through regular collaborative activities, students get to know their peers and their teacher, and feel comfortable sharing thoughts, asking questions and challenging ideas within their course. They not only become comfortable with working collaboratively but they also remain deeply engaged with the coursework. That engagement helps lead to better scores.”
VHS is home to one of the largest catalogs of online AP® courses with more than 20 AP® options. As the AP® catalog has grown, VHS students have regularly surpassed the national average pass rate, so additional courses and sections are often added to further meet the demands of students looking to prepare further for college.
About The Virtual High School
The Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.) is an online learning pioneer. Since 1996, the nonprofit organization has set the standard for quality online education. VHS provides middle and high school online courses for students and professional development for educators. The organization also meets the unique educational needs of schools through custom course development, individualized course offerings, and support for blended learning initiatives. VHS design and delivery standards are the model used by the National Education Association in their recommended standards for online learning. The organization has won numerous awards, including the Stockholm Challenge Award for Global Excellence in Information Technology and is a three-time winner of the United States Distance Learning Association’s (USDLA) award for Excellence in Programming and Excellence in Best Practices. For more information, visit www.TheVirtualHighSchool.org or call (978) 897-1900.
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