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Top Six Ways a Virtual Program Can Improve Student Achievement

Top Six Ways a Virtual Program Can Improve Student Achievement

For educators, giving students the option to take fully virtual courses can feel like a big step. After all, online learning does require a greater level of independence and self-motivation than traditional classroom learning. Virtual students have to take ownership of their own learning, understand how to manage their time, and take initiative to reach out for help when it’s needed. This can feel like a lot to expect of high school students—but for some, that independence, ownership, and the flexibility that comes with are just what’s needed to thrive academically.

Here, we’ve put together the top six ways a well-planned virtual program can help improve student achievement:

1. Expand course offerings

This generation of students is all about options, but tight budgets, limited numbers of interested students, and staffing shortages make offering the full breadth of courses that students want a challenge, especially in small districts. A virtual program can be a cost-effective solution to offer your students a wider variety of subjects like world languages, Career and Technical Education (CTE), and electives, such as digital photography and psychology, without putting a strain on resources. Expanding your course catalog can help students stay engaged in learning, explore subjects they are passionate about, and enter postsecondary education or the workforce with an advantage.

2. Provide credit and unit recovery

For some students, a traditional classroom environment simply isn’t where they thrive. When students have fallen behind in credits, a virtual program can provide an alternative that offers more flexibility, supports personalized learning, and allows for expedited credit recovery. Whether students are in need of full credit recovery, unit recovery, or original credit, virtual courses can help struggling learners work at their own pace, experience academic success, and get back on track to graduate with their cohort.

3. Support accelerated learners

When students are working above grade level, they can easily become disengaged and frustrated in the classroom. A virtual program can offer accelerated students the ability to take more advanced courses that might not be provided by your school or district, such as Advanced Placement® courses, higher level math and science, and electives specific to their postsecondary goals. Plus, being able to progress through material at their own pace can keep these bright students engaged and excited about learning.

4. Solve resource and scheduling issues

When resources are limited, it’s can be hard for schools and districts to offer the curriculum and educator support that students need. A virtual program can help you accommodate students in need of specific courses to meet graduation requirements or those with scheduling conflicts due to student activities. Virtual courses can also help to quickly fill course gaps due to a lack of dedicated or qualified staffing with highly trained, state-certified online teachers.

5. Accommodate hospital and homebound students

Virtual courses can be a huge benefit for any student who is on a temporary or extended leave from school, is in the hospital, or is homebound. With virtual courses, you can provide these students with a full schedule of courses and teacher support in a flexible format that allows them to keep up with their cohorts and stay on track for graduation.

6. Retain student enrollment

Today’s students want options, and they have no shortage of them in regards to school choices. With a growing number of charter schools, online schools, and open-enrollment options, many districts are struggling with losing students (and funding) to these alternative programs. Developing an in-house virtual program can help your district provide the full breadth of options students are looking for and keep more students (and funding) in the district.

Edmentum is proud to be a virtual school partner to over 400 schools nationwide with EdOptions Academy, our fully accredited virtual high school with licensed, experienced teachers and over 400 course options! Interested in learning more? Check out our Online Credit Recovery Resource Round Up for helpful tips, tricks, best practices and more.

This blog was originally published December 2018 by Sarah Cornelius and has been updated.

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