WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) today released a ground-breaking report on outcomes-driven quality assurance for online learning.
With the growth of U.S. K-12 online learning enrollments rising each year, the report outlines how policymakers and education leaders might thoughtfully approach implementing new student learning performance metrics and quality assurance for these increasingly popular school environments.
The report underscores the need of the field to truly take advantage of innovative new learning tools and practices to personalize education for every student, and emphasizes that policy discussions must address measuring success toward outcomes-driven models.
"Personalization and student-centered learning are the keys to driving student success at all levels," said Susan Patrick, President and CEO of iNACOL, and co-author of the report. "When education is customized, students remain challenged, supported, and engaged. Teachers using technology tools and high-quality digital content in online learning environments can personalize instruction in ways never before possible, with great potential for moving students further, faster. However, for online learning to reach its true potential, policymakers and leaders must focus squarely on student learning outcomes for examining effectiveness of new models."
Measuring Quality from Inputs to Outcomes: Creating Student Learning Performance Metrics and Quality Assurance for Online Schools, released today by iNACOL, lays out the need for quality assurance and the challenges posed to policymakers. It provides recommendations and implementation scenarios outlining key areas of outcomes-based measurement that must be explored more closely: Proficiency; Individual student growth; Graduation rate; College and career readiness; Closing the achievement gap.
"The ability for teachers and students to access immediate data opens up the possibility for the opportunity to know where a student is in their learning, and what is needed to move them forward, guiding and supporting students as they move at their own pace, demonstrating mastery, lesson to lesson," said Patrick. "The ability to support student-centered progress and demonstration of content knowledge is one of the most powerful aspects of online learning. Understanding what makes a learning environment for students most effective is desperately needed to ensure student attainment, content mastery, knowledge, and success. These core concepts can help move the field towards thinking more about outcomes-based performance metrics for quality assurance for any learning environment, as well as online schools."
"High-quality education providers-whether public schools, non-profit organizations, or private companies-want to be able to demonstrate positive student outcomes, but are often limited in their ability to do so by state data and assessment systems," said John Watson, founder of the Evergreen Education Group. "The recommendations in this report will help states move toward being able to better assess a wide range of educational organizations."
Download a copy of the report at http://www.inacol.org/research/docs/iNACOL_Quality_Metrics.pdf.
To learn more about online and blended learning or competency-based education, please visit http://inacol.org.
iNACOL is the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, D.C. Representing more than 4,000 members, iNACOL's mission is to ensure every student everywhere has access to a world class education, no matter their geographic or economic situation by advocating for student-centered educational policies to ensure equity and access, developing quality standards for emerging learning models using online, blended and competency-based education, providing research, and supporting the ongoing professional development of classroom, school and district leaders. Keep up with iNACOL on Facebook, Twitter or our blog.
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