Although virtual schools continue to grow each year, more research and accountability is needed to foster and support effective online educational environments, according to a new report from the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education (U.S.). Whlie full-time online schools have gained 50,000 more students in the past year alone, bringing the total number of students participating in such virtual learning environments up to 250,000, research on how successful those schools are is mixed, with the majority of research finding higher dropout rates and lower test scores for full-time online students than their counterparts in brick-and-mortar schools. On the other hand, two small scale studies found that online students actually had higher rates of academic growth, suggesting that online learning can be an effective way of educating students.
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