Is blended learning closing achievement gaps?

Discussion of Blended Learning and the Achievement Gap.  This is a very interesting pairing.  Allowing high-quality, advanced content to be made available to every child who wants it.

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Blended Learning Case Studies: Blended learning success in school districts

Last September, the Christensen Institute and the Evergreen Education Group published Proof Points, a compilation of 12 case studies of school districts around the country that have experienced improved student outcomes since implementing blended learning.

The case studies demonstrate blended learning’s transformative power in high-poverty areas. Among the districts featured in these proof points, three-quarters serve communities where over 50 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch.

Many are using blended learning to accelerate students on the wrong side of the achievement gap. For example, Spokane Public Schools created the Individual Credit Advancement Now (ICAN), a blended credit recovery program that has seen a promising 87 percent completion rate. Spokane also launched On Track Academy, a blended alternative school for students who have fallen behind in credit accumulation. Since implementing these two blended, intervention programs in 2008, Spokane’s graduation rates have risen an impressive 23 percent.

The Benefits of Blended Learning

Blended Learning has shown potential in bringing specialized learning, e.g. AP and Gifted and Talented classes to underfunded minority-major schools and districts.

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If you’ve been hearing about blended learning in your school district, you are not alone. Blended learning is an approach to teaching in which students do part of their coursework in class and part of it online. An increasing number of school districts are using blended learning to make learning more accessible for all students.

There are as many ways to teach blended-learning classes as there are teachers. One of the more popular models involves credit recovery, a process through which students make up credits for classes they failed by completing the work they didn’t finish before. In this model, students are given modules of work to do at their own pace. Another popular model is to teach a traditional class but have students in class only a few days per week. In this model, students complete coursework outside of class and come to the classroom for teacher-planned activities that need to be done there.