In a time of growth in secondary education online programs, there have been few studies directed at understanding secondary online programs and the students they serve. That is particularly true for large, inner-city public school districts with a diverse student body. This is a mixed methods case study which identified that students' primary motive for taking online courses in school year 2007-2008 was to take courses in order to fulfill graduation requirements and graduate from high school on time. Considering the online course outcomes for 854 unique students, chi-square tests show that four factors were significant predictors of either a pass or fail outcome for a completed online course: (a) course titles, (b) student ethnicity, (c) student home computer and Internet access, and (d) year-in-school. Gender was not found to be a significant factor. Course frequency data were available for 1,995 courses taken by the 854 students, indicating that approximately two-thirds of courses completed were four core health and physical education online courses that students passed 90 percent of the time. The online program was in the forefront of leading the district toward a more standardized curriculum after many years of site-based management in its seven largest high schools. This case study indicated several areas that may prove beneficial if further research were conducted, including: (a) discovering why more young women than young men took online PE courses, and (b) discovering ways in which to identify at-risk online students who could benefit from additional support.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2010. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Dr. Judith Lambrecht. 1 computer file (PDF); xvi, 365 pages, appendices A-F.
Cruzan, Carla Dale.
Case study of a secondary online program in a large, diverse midwestern public school district..
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