2010 SREB Report on State Virtual Schools: Survey Responses by State

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1 2010 SREB Report on State Virtual Schools: Survey Responses by State All responses reflect the academic year, unless otherwise noted. For the purposes of this survey, the academic year is defined as summer 2009, fall 2009 and spring Questions (and answers) marked with an asterisk (*) are taken from the 2010 Keeping Pace survey. Definitions Credit recovery courses: Those needed by students who have to repeat a course. (Or as defined by the state virtual school). Remedial courses: Those taken by students who have not had adequate academic preparation to take the next level course. Unique course enrollment: The equivalent of a half-credit of content delivered in one semester, regardless of the number of sections. Unique student enrollment: One student taking one or more courses during one or more semesters. N/A = not applicable. State Virtual School Contact Information SOUTH CAROLINA Name of State Virtual School (SVS) State Virtual School website Please provide detailed contact information for your SVS. Virtual School Program (SCVSP) Dee Appleby Director, Office of elearning, Department of Education 3710 Landmark Drive, Suite 301 Columbia, SC (803) SREB Report on State Virtual Schools: Survey Responses by State 1

2 Please provide contact information for the person who completed this survey, if different from above. Jonathan Rauh Research/Planning Administrator, South Carolina Virtual School Program, South Carolina Department of Education 3710 Landmark Drive, Suite 301 Columbia, SC (803) Current Status Please briefly describe any significant changes to your SVS during the last two years. Please indicate a range of growth in unique student enrollments since If you have experienced a reduction in unique student enrollments, what factors do you think account for this? * How many unique student enrollments did you have in one or more for-credit courses from summer 2009 through spring 2010? Please indicate a range of anticipated growth in unique student enrollments over the next five years. If you anticipate a reduction in unique student enrollments, what factors do you think will account for this? * What was your program s approximate change in number of unique course enrollments from the previous academic year? Beginning in , the SCVSP will begin to limit enrollments to 3,000 students per semester and 3,000 in the summer. This move is being taken due to budget shortfalls. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to assess the characteristics of a successful online learner and a successful online teacher within the SCVSP. 40 percent or more N/A 10,087 Reduced enrollments The SCVSP is limiting enrollments to 3,000 per semester and 3,000 for summer. This move is being taken due to budget cuts and as a means of conducting an evaluation of teacher practices and student performance over time. Increased 10% to 25% 2010 SREB Report on State Virtual Schools: Survey Responses by State 2

3 * What are the factors that led to an increase or decrease in unique course enrollments? * How many unique course enrollments in online classes that were awarded credit did you have from summer 2009 through spring 2010? Shrinking district and school budgets, leading to an inability to offer a full cohort of courses; budgets affecting class sizes in physical school; increased promotion for quality course offerings among median- to higher-poverty districts Content recovery offerings continue to swell due to districts charging higher fees for content recovery courses. Summer 2009: 1,956 Fall 2009: 1,275 Spring 2010: 1,647 Total: 4,878 Organization, Administration and Policies Is your SVS managed by an EMO (educational management organization)? With whom and for what purpose(s) does your SVS partner in your state? (e.g., postsecondary education, public television, state IT agency)? To whom is your SVS accountable? Do you specifically target populations other than rural, urban and suburban students? The SCVSP partners with public, private and home schools in addition to adult education centers and state-run schools to provide online courses. Additionally, the SCVSP maintains relationships with the SC State Library and SC Instructional Television to access course materials online and to provide online backup of courses and course-specific material. The SCVSP is located within the Office of elearning and partners with a variety of offices within the Department of Education to ensure that courses are aligned with academic standards, instructional material is being used appropriately, and assessments are rigorous and robust to the state academic standards. State Department of Education Legislature Education Oversight Committee 2010 SREB Report on State Virtual Schools: Survey Responses by State 3

4 How many districts in your state provide their own virtual learning options? Do you expect the number of districts providing their own virtual learning options in your state to change over the next year? As more districts provide their own virtual learning options, how does this impact your SVS? Does your SVS have an intellectual property policy? Please provide a link(s) to the policies that govern your SVS. Does your SVS have a strategic plan or longterm goals? Do you produce an annual report? Have any evaluation studies of your SVS been conducted by external groups? Please identify the inacol standards your SVS has adopted. 9 out of a total of 186 The effects of budget shortfalls ostensibly prevent many districts from pursuing new options for offering courses. Because the SCVSP is a program within the SC Department of Education, our enrollment is free and open to any student in the state and is recognized by every district in the state. Because there is no impact with regards to student funding at the local level, it is unlikely that the addition of local options would impact the number of enrollments at the SCVSP. Any changes that occur may come in the way of course offerings, with an increase in the number of low incidence offerings. eptable-use-policy /SCVSP%20Regs%20and%20Statute.pdf Please see attachment /2010%20SCVSP%20Evaluation%20Final.pd f Learning/e- Learning/documents/SCVSPY2Final842009v2.pdf National Standards for Quality Online Programs National Standards for Quality Online Teaching National Standards for Quality Online Courses 2010 SREB Report on State Virtual Schools: Survey Responses by State 4

5 Please identify the SREB publications your SVS has adopted. Standards for Quality Online Courses Checklist for Evaluating Online Courses Cost Guidelines for State Virtual Schools Guidelines for Professional Development of Online Teachers Standards for Quality Online Teaching Online Teaching Evaluation for State Virtual Schools Funding and Revenue Please indicate how much funding you received in each category. Does your SVS offer courses for tuition? Under what circumstances do/can students take courses on a tuition basis? Who pays the tuition? What is the charge for a half-credit course? What is the charge for a full/whole-credit course? Do you charge any fees other than tuition? Public FTE funds: $1,400,000 State appropriations: $878,427 Total: $2,278,427 N/A N/A N/A N/A Did not respond Courses * What course grade levels does your SVS serve? * What student grade levels does your SVS serve? What types of courses does your SVS offer? Grades 9-12 Grades 7-8 Grades 9-12 Advanced placement Credit recovery Other (College preparatory) 2010 SREB Report on State Virtual Schools: Survey Responses by State 5

6 * How would you describe the timing of your courses? What are the top 5 reasons students give for taking an online course? What are the top 5 reasons students give for dropping an online course? What are your most successful retention strategies? * What percentage of your unique courses are licensed or purchased from an outside source? Do you create any of your own course content? If yes, for what subjects do you create your own content? SCVSP Course List Do you provide your course content to any districts in your state? Courses have set start and end dates; students progress as a cohort. In special circumstances, a student may be given an extension or be allowed to start early. 1. To graduate on time 2. Schedule conflict 3. Other (To make room in schedule) 4. Course unavailable in my school 5. To try an online course 1. Course too difficult 2. Got behind and could not catch up 3. Other (Time management) 4. Technical problems 5. Other (Already enrolled) Continual monitoring of student progress and pacing 23% When the SCVSP began in the school year, we either purchased courses or licensed them from a number of vendors. However, in 2010, we licensed courses for content recovery (credit recovery) only and purchased several AP courses. Other math (Statistics) English Foreign languages History Other social studies (Law) Other (Art History, Life Management, Web Design) 2010 SREB Report on State Virtual Schools: Survey Responses by State 6

7 Do you provide your course content to schools in other states? Do you offer your courses to students outside your state? If yes, what percentage of unique student enrollments are in-state and what percentage are from outside your state? To what extent do you use open education resources (OER)? * What was your online course completion rate in ? * Does your completion rate exclude students who dropped the class during the drop period? * How many course enrollments did your program have in non-credit courses, such as ACT test prep? * Approximately what percentage of your course enrollments are for credit recovery courses? * Though you are a primarily supplemental program, do you have any students taking all of their courses through your program? In-state: 99.9% Out-of-state: 0.1% Some material in courses is pulled from OERs provided it is aligned to SC Academic Standards. 80% % to 30% Twelve students in took all their courses through the SCVSP; however, credit was awarded by the student s physical school. All of these students were granted waivers to take all of their courses online, since we have a requirement that students take only three courses per school year or 12 during their four years in high school. Instruction and Instructional Services Do you provide training on 21st century skills for students? (http://www.p21.org) If yes, is this training aligned with courses? 2010 SREB Report on State Virtual Schools: Survey Responses by State 7

8 Do you provide access to ICT digital literacy instruction and resources? (http://www.ictliteracy.info) If yes, are these resources aligned with courses? For the following three questions, please consider books to include textbooks. What percentage of your courses allow the use of e-/digital books? What percentage of your courses require the use of e-/digital books? Do you promote the use of e-/digital books over hardbound books? * Did your program employ full-time teachers from summer 2009 through spring 2010? * Did your program employ part-time teachers from summer 2009 through spring 2010? * Does your program have any formal teacher communication requirements (e.g., teacher to student, teacher to parent)? * Are any or all of your program s online professional development requirements mandated by your state? 78% 78% The SCVSP only offers hardbound books for specific foreign language courses. Other than that, e-books are used in courses that require them Teachers are required to communicate with both students and their parents via welcome calls prior to the beginning of each enrollment period. In addition, they are expected to communicate with students, parents and sponsors via VSA throughout the period, including the issuing of progress reports on the first and 15th of each month. Lastly, we have a requirement that teachers reply to communication from these groups within 24 hours of having received the contact. mandates professional development for all teachers, including those working online. To meet this requirement, the SCVSP provided professional development at the monthly, face-to-face faculty meeting held in Columbia. In addition, we encourage teachers to participate in pertinent webinars 2010 SREB Report on State Virtual Schools: Survey Responses by State 8

9 and, in fact, require them to attend some. Lastly, recently approved requirements for an online teaching certification. All full-time SCVSP teachers were granted this certification based on documentation that we submitted on their behalf. Accountability Have there been any significant changes to the way your SVS ensures quality course content and alignment with state academic standards since ? Please briefly describe how teachers are evaluated and list the evaluation tools/benchmarks that are used. Do you compare your SVS to other states virtual schools? If yes, please briefly describe the benchmark(s) you use and against whom you benchmark. How does your SVS measure success? * Does your school collect data to compare the outcomes of online students against students taking courses from physical schools in your state? If yes, what collection method do you use? Course reviews continue to be conducted, ensuring at least 90 percent alignment to State Academic Standards. Teachers are evaluated using the state Department of Education Employee Performance Management System. The objectives that are used are pulled from SREB and inacol standards. We measure funding-level changes, growth rates and number of courses offered. By statute the SCVSP is required to successfully complete 3,000 students per year. The SCVSP has grown to successfully complete three times this number. Internally, the SCVSP uses successful completion rates to measure the success of the teacher and the program. This is the proportion of students who complete a course with a 70 or above, per the total number of students who receive a grade via the Uniform Grading Policy. End-of-course exams AP exam scores 2010 SREB Report on State Virtual Schools: Survey Responses by State 9

10 Issues Please identify issues that your SVS faces in your state as online learning continues to grow. What do you consider your greatest academic success(es)? What do you consider your greatest financial success(es)? What do you consider your greatest technical success(es)? What do you consider your greatest academic obstacle(s)? What do you consider your greatest financial obstacle(s)? What do you consider your greatest technical obstacle(s)? Budget restrictions Demand vs. funding for courses Sustainable funding model The SCVSP has regularly provided lowincidence courses and courses that may be offered only once a year to schools throughout the state. Through the efforts of the SCVSP, an increased number of students have been able to successfully attain a high school diploma. The SCVSP has maintained teacher levels, increased course offerings and the number of students successfully completing courses, all while dealing with three years of annual budget cuts. The SCVSP has developed a variety of novel interactions between teachers and students that facilitate reasoned, course-specific responses from students. Students in traditional schools continue to be unprepared for the increased rigor of online learning. Statewide budget cuts do not appear to be subsiding any time in the near future. Aligning program for effective, longitudinal reporting of student outcomes SREB Report on State Virtual Schools: Survey Responses by State 10

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