This is the fifth blog in a series where we will explore excellence in online curriculum for secondary education and what to consider when partnering with an online learning provider.
4 Ways to Evaluate Efficacy, Outcomes, and Results of an Online Learning Partner
Throughout this series, we’ve explored what’s important to consider when evaluating a digital curriculum provider, including the quality and rigor of the curriculum, student engagement and the level of support throughout the implementation process. One final consideration is evaluating whether the digital curriculum partner demonstrates proven results, including third-party efficacy studies that indicate student learning and increased achievement. Ensuring an online curriculum provider offers sufficient efficacy, outcomes and results is a key component of determining whether or not the program will be successful within your school or district. We recommend four ways to evaluate the results and outcomes of an online curriculum provider below:
1) Proven results. As we mentioned above, efficacy studies, or objective reports on student learning and increased achievement is imperative for evaluating the effectiveness of online curriculum provider. Efficacy studies typically have a comparison group, use an objective measurement group, such as quasi-experimental design and/or are conducted by a third party, and use high-stakes assessment results as an objective measurement of student learning. Efficacy studies should also meet the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirements for evidence-based efficacy. Rather than speaking to the passing rates of the online curriculum courses, efficacy studies should compare the results of student pass rates, achievement and graduation rates to students who are not taking the online courses to ensure the most accurate data as well as evaluating their success on state and national exams.
2) Achieving Goals. If your school or district is currently partnering with a digital curriculum provider, have you successfully met your established goals? Providers should demonstrate a clear understanding of your district’s goals and requirements for student achievement, while offering guidance to support administrators in achieving these goals for student achievement such as increased graduation rates and improved test scores.
3) Reporting. Your district should also be able to easily access reports showing student usage, progress, and achievement against national and state standards. Administrators, teachers, and students should be equipped with the real-time progress and performance data to make informed decisions about each student. Data should intuitively provide educators with a robust picture of student achievement as it's occurring, including the concepts students are struggling with, and where they are excelling, to quickly identify and inform instructional decisions.
4) Testimonials and Results. One final consideration would be to determine the success of other districts using the digital curriculum. Are other districts eager to share their success with the online partner publicly, and does the provider have a deep library of research, stories, testimonials, and quotes that describe their implementations and celebrate the outcomes achieved? Inquiring about examples of a replicable implementation in another district would be an effective way to evaluate whether or not the solution may be a fit.
Empower Students, Improve outcomes
As we have covered throughout this series, for the promise of personalized learning to be realized, the following combination is needed: a rigorous digital curriculum, technology that enables access for all students, an implementation plan that provides professional learning and support for educators, and ongoing evaluation against program goals. With all of these components in place, every student will have the opportunity to thrive.
How Apex Learning Can Help
An industry leader with deep expertise in digital curriculum, Apex Learning works closely with school districts across the country to implement proven solutions that increase on-time graduation rates and create opportunities for student success in school and beyond. The company is driven by the understanding that supporting the needs of all students – from struggling to accelerated – strengthens schools and creates stronger communities, brighter futures and a more equitable world. Learn more about how we can help your school or district thrive: www.apexlearning.com.