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Should Public Schools Follow Charter Schools' Lead on Data Tracking?

Public Schools Need to Follow Charter School Example and Better Track Student Data

Despite frequent attention to charter school innovations, particularly using blended learning, studies indicate that public school districts started to integrate blended learning into their classrooms well before charters. One team of researchers believe charter schools get all the attention because public schools need a lesson in tracking student data.

According to a recent Forbes article, there are several reasons behind attention gravitating towards charter schools in regards to blended learning.

For example, while public schools began integrating blended learning into classes and subjects one at a time initially, in charter schools "blended learning has become a core part of the school’s operations," the article said.

Also, charter schools "have produced impressive student outcomes that are concrete and objective. Those clear and measurable results have been missing from many of the district schools adopting blended learning."

In response to this, the Christensen Institute and the Evergreen Education Group teamed up to analyze public school districts that utilize blended learning and have positive results.

The team found that there were many public schools that touted great success stories with blended learning, like Innovations Early College High School, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Here, the school added a Flex model of blended learning and "boasted a graduation rate of 89 percent for its 2014 graduation cohort," according to the article.

What they also found was that many public schools that implemented blended learning had not done any data tracking to provide proof of positive results.

"[W]hen we released the initial survey asking for examples of blended learning success, we received 65 responses. Half of the submissions said they did not have student outcomes data—shocking in its own right but even more so given the survey said we were looking explicitly for measurable student success," the article said.

According to the team, the positive stories from public schools like Innovations Early College High School need to be circulated more so that public schools across the country can get more "rigorous" with integrating blended learning and providing student success.

Read the full story here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/14/2015

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