Research Findings from the West Virginia Virtual School Spanish Program

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1 Research Findings frm the West Virginia Virtual Schl Spanish Prgram Funded by the U.S. Department f Educatin Cnducted by R0cKMAN ETAL San Francisc, CA, Chicag, IL, and Blmingtn, IN Octber 4, 2006 R0cKMAN ETAL 49 Geary Street, Suite 530 San Francisc, CA Phne Fax

2 Findings frm the WV Virtual Schl Spanish Prgram Research Octber 4, 2006 The research presented belw was designed t assess the impact f the WV Virtual Schl Spanish Prgram as part f a larger, three-year initiative funded by the US Department f Educatin, Educatinal Develpment fr Planning and Cnducting Evaluatins. Its gal was t prvide empirical data n student achievement in a virtual freign language curse using a quasi-experimental design with experimental elements. The middle schl curse is a hybrid virtual prgram that cmbines cmputer-based, classrm, and audi-interactive cmpnents t rural and islated schls where certified Spanish teachers are nt available. It is an effrt t prvide bth access t challenging curse wrk and equity f access t thse utside f ppulatin centers. The findings prvide supprt fr the prgram and we identify best practices and ffer suggestins fr further develpment f the virtual curse fferings. THE PROGRAM WORKS 1. Data cllected ver 3 years shw that students in the Virtual Spanish classes learn Spanish..- Students in virtual classes perfrm as well as thse in face-t-face classes n the Spanish Assessment. [Tables 1-3] - Students in the virtual Spanish class have maintained a relatively high level f achievement ver 3 years f assessment. [Figure 1] Students scres n the Student Oral Prficiency Assessment (SOPA) shw similar trends cnsistent imprvement in perfrmance ver 3 years. [Figure Students wh participate in the Virtual Spanish prgram have psitive attitudes twards Spanish and twards learning, strng wrk habits, and feel mre prepared fr high schl and beynd. Participating students are mtivated by the curse. > Mre than 75% f the students surveyed say they learn a lt in Virtual Spanish. Apprximately 90% say they: like learning a freign language think learning a freign language is imprtant want t cntinue Spanish in high schl Students think speaking Spanish will: prepare them fr mre advanced classes in high schl help them in cllege help them functin in a wrkplace where thers speak Spanish live in a mre diverse wrld R0cKMANETAL 2

3 Findings frm the WV Virtual Schl Spanish Prgram Research Octber 4, High schl Spanish II teachers say that students wh take the middle-schl Spanish I Virtual curse d well in Spanish II, ften utperfrming students wh take Spanish I in a high schl face-t-face class. The perspectives ffered by the teachers suggest that participating students are explring and mastering 2l Century skills as a by-prduct f their learning Spanish. Teachers say that Virtual Spanish students excel in: Language prficiency. Virtual Spanish students: have better prnunciatin knw mre vcabulary spell Spanish wrds crrectly have cvered mre material in the Virtual Spanish prgram learn faster and are ready t mve n > Attitudes tward class and wrk habits. Virtual Spanish students: participate mre in class feel in cntrl take respnsibility fr their wn learning are mre cnscientius value learning a freign language > Technlgy skills. Virtual Spanish students: knw hw t find and use nline language resurces use technlgy t cmplete assignments have the technlgy skills t take ther challenging classes, including AP classes which may nly be available as virtual classes THE PROGRAM WORKS BEST WHEN... Our 3-year study allwed us t visit all the sites, cllect bservatin, interview, and assessment data, and examine the key elements f the Virtual Spanish mdel facilitatin by a threemember instructinal team, technlgy, feedback and cmmunicatin, use f Spanish, and site supprt. Our analysis f the data helped us identify factrs that characterize effective implementatins and that are statistically assciated with students achievement and engagement. We ve fund that: 1. Students in Virtual Spanish learn mre Spanish and are mre engaged when there is mre interactin with the instructinal team and when team members make cnnectins t ther subjects and prvide scafflding. the facilitatr is actively invlved in the learning prcess and guides students smthly thrugh the daily lessns by maintaining flw, giving directins, reviewing activities, and asking questins. R0cKMANETAL 3

4 Findings frm the WV Virtual Schl Spanish Prgram Research Octber 4, In classes where students hear mre Spanish, frm either the facilitatr r the lead teacher, they: > perfrm better n SOPA, are mre engaged, value freign language mre, and > want t cntinue Spanish in high schl. 4. In classes where students receive mre feedback n their learning and have high quality and frequent cmmunicatin with the instructinal team, students tend t. learn mre Spanish and be mre engaged, > value learning a freign language, and > want t cntinue Spanish II in high schl. 5. In classes where technlgy wrks well, and students have access t the necessary tls (e.g., enugh headsets and micrphnes)... > students learn mre Spanish, > students are mre engaged, > facilitatrs prvide mre instructinal supprt and feedback t students, and > cmmunicatin and interactin between facilitatr and students is mre frequent and f higher quality. 6. In classes where students write mre n the cmputer filling in blanks, writing wrds r phrases, r cmpsing pen-ended respnses they have higher Spanish achievement and ral prficiency. 7. Listening t Spanish via technlgy (CDs, Wimba tls) is psitively related t Spanish achievement; listening t thers facilitatrs, lead teachers (via telephne), and peers is assciated with higher writing and ral prficiency. 8. When there is a high level f schl supprt supprt frm administratrs, supprt frm ther teachers, an apprpriate time in the schl schedule, an apprpriate class space students tend t....- be mre engaged and learn mre Spanish, value learning a freign language, and > want t cntinue Spanish II in high schl. R0cKMAN ETAL 4

5 Findings frm the WV Virtual Schl Spanish Prgram Research Octber 4, 2006 REPLICATING THE MODEL: IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Based n a detailed analysis f the extensive data cllected ver the past three years, including bservatins, questinnaires, and assessments, we see pprtunities fr the West Virginia Department f Educatin t: Enhance the existing prgram: > The prgram shuld take full advantage f the existing technlgy t prvide mre pprtunities fr students t hear Spanish, and explre ther new technlgies that expse them t as much Spanish as pssible. This is especially useful, given students preference fr technlgy-based activities. Students wuld appreciate and benefit frm mre site visits frm adjuncts, giving them a mre frequent pprtunity t speak t and interact face-t-face with their Spanish teacher. > Facilitatrs in the virtual classrms, especially new facilitatrs, culd benefit frm training and supprt that includes examples f best practices and effective classrm scafflding. Facilitatrs shuld be encuraged t learn alng with students and use Spanish as much as they are able t. Extend the prgram t reach mre students: > The prgram has thus far attracted higher-achieving students, as d mst middle-schl freign-language prgrams. Administratrs and facilitatrs have als fund that students wh wrk well independently and take respnsibility fr schl wrk are mre likely t succeed. T extend the benefits f the prgram t a brader ppulatin, prgram leaders culd cnsider guidance fr schls in identifying, attracting, preparing, and supprting students wh fall int ne r neither categry. Replicate the existing prgram t prvide ther languages t middle schl students. > The success f the Spanish prgram suggests that it culd easily be replicated with different languages. Replicate the existing prgram t prvide virtual Spanish II prgram. > Given the success f the current prgram in and instilling an interest in freignj it is vitally imprtant that the s1fiwii1z every effrtfi1[ö students t cntinue. Because f the shrtage f freign language teachers, sme Virtual Spanish students may nt be able t cntinue r may nt pick up Spanish II until their sphmre r junir years. Thse wh have access t ther means f delivery d nt feel that they learn as much as they d thrugh this prgram. By ffering the next level via a prgram patterned after this ne, the state culd ensure that students cntinue t develp imprtant skills in language, technlgy, and life. det, ing! Sanish ROcKMANETAL 5

6 Findings frm the WV Virtual Schl Spanish Prgram Research Octber 4, 2006 Table 1: Spanish Multiple Chice: Virtual Spanish students scred slightly higher n the Language sectin and slightly lwer n the Listening and Reading sectins. Listening (16 questins> Language (23 questins) Reading (22 questins) VS mean # F2F mean # crrect crrect Difference between VS and_f2f Table 2: Spanish Written Assessment The tw grups scred similarly n the Written Assessment. VS scred slightly higher in 2 areas, slightly lwer in 4 areas, and the same in ne. VS mean F2F mean VS relative t F2F Fluency Grammar Vcabulary Listening Cmprehensin Table 3: SOPA (Oral assessment. F2F students scred higher n the ral assessment.) VS mean F2F mean VS relative t F2F Fluency Mechanics Grammar Vcabulary Prmpt 1 Ideas Prmpt 2 Ideas Prmpt 3 Ideas R0cKMANErAL 6

7 Findings frm the WV Virtual Schl Spanish Prgram Research Octber 4, 2006 Figure 1: Spanish Assessment Trends frm Year 1 t Year 3 fr Virtual Spanish Students 100.0% 90. 0% 80.0% 70 0% 60.0% ZZEEEZZZ 50.0% -l 40.0% j 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 v Ttal Multiple Chice 63,1% 66.5% 65.7% * Cmprehensin 56.6% 57.5% 61.5% Language 68.4% 71.9% 74.Q% Listening 6S. 7/a 72.7% 6O.8% * The listening assessment was administered nline fr the first time this past year and there may have been t much variability in hw it was administered. ROcKMANETAL 7

8 Findings frm the WV Virtual Schl Spanish Prgram Research Octber 4, 2006 Figure 2: SOPA Trends frm Year 1 t Year 3 fr Virtual Spanish Students , Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Ttal SOPA tOral Fluency Grammar a Vcabulary Listening Cmp R0cKMAN ETAL 8

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