Research Reports

The Rise of K–12 Blended Learning
January, 2011

By Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker
With contributions from Alex Hernandez, Bryan Hassel, and Joe Ableidinger

Online learning is a high-growth area in education. According to this report, in the year 2000, around 45,000 K–12 students took an online course. By 2009, that number rose to more than 3 million. The greatest growth in online learning is in blended learning, where online learning is integrated into the classroom environment. Online learning is transforming America’s education system, and this report examines ways in which blended learning can change the American classroom, with more personalized learning for students. Many of the ideas and conclusions in this report can be applied to adult education.

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Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies
September, 2010

U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Policy and Program Studies Service
Prepared by: Barbara Means, Yukie Toyama, Robert Murphy, Marianne Bakia, Karla Jones
Center for Technology in Learning

A systematic search of the research literature from 1996 through July 2008 identified more than a thousand empirical studies of online learning. Analysts screened these studies to find those that (a) contrasted an online to a face-to-face condition, (b) measured student learning outcomes, (c) used a rigorous research design, and (d) provided adequate information to calculate an effect size. As a result of this screening, 51 independent effects were identified that could be subjected to meta-analysis. Key findings include:

  • Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction. Learning outcomes for students who engaged in online learning exceeded those of students receiving face-to-face instruction, with an average effect size of +0.24 favoring online conditions. The mean difference between online and face-to-face conditions across the 51 contrasts is statistically significant at the p < .01 level.
  • Instruction combining online and face-to-face elements had a larger advantage relative to purely face-to-face instruction than did purely online instruction. The mean effect size in studies comparing blended with face-to-face instruction was +0.35, p < .001. This effect size is larger than that for studies comparing purely online and purely face-to-face conditions, which had an average effect size of +0.14, p < .05.
  • Few rigorous research studies of the effectiveness of online learning for K-12 students have been published. The systematic search of the research literature found just five experimental or controlled quasi-experimental studies comparing the learning effects of online versus face-to-face instruction for K-12 students. As such, caution is required in generalizing to the K-12 population because the results are for the most part based on studies in other settings (e.g., medical training, higher education).
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The Silent Epidemic
March, 2006

A report by Civic Enterprises in association with Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
By: John M. Bridgeland, John J.DiIulio, Jr., Karen Burke Morison

The central message of this report is that while some students drop out because of significant academic challenges, most dropouts are students who could have, and believe they could have, succeeded in school. This survey of young people who left high school without graduating suggests that, despite career aspirations that require education beyond high school and a majority having grades of a C or better, circumstances in students’ lives and an inadequate response to those circumstances from the schools led to dropping out. While reasons vary, the general categories remain the same, whether in inner city Los Angeles or suburban Nebraska.

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National Assessment of Adult Literacy
January, 2006

Sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) is a nationally representative assessment of literacy among adults (age 16 and older) residing in households and prisons in the United States. It is the first assessment of the nation’s progress in adult literacy since the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS).

NAAL measures the three types of literacy that were measured in 1992. One important goal of the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) is to provide information on changes in adult literacy performance since 1992. Accordingly, the 2003 NAAL provides scores for the same three literacy areas—prose, document, and quantitative—that were examined in the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS). In order to provide trend data on adult literacy in the future, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) plans to conduct assessments of adult literacy periodically.

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The Literacy of America’s College Students
January, 2006

By: American Institutes for Research
Justin D. Baer, Andrea L. Cook, Stephane Baldi

Although the average literacy of college students on all scales was higher than the literacy of America’s adults, the results indicate that students in 2- and 4-year institutions struggle most with quantitative literacy. Nearly 20 percent of students in 4-year colleges had Basic quantitative literacy, compared with 6 percent with Basic prose literacy and 5 percent with Basic document literacy. The performance of students in 2-year institutions was also troubling. Approximately 30 percent had Basic quantitative literacy, which was not significantly different from the percentage of adults in the nation with Basic quantitative literacy.

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The Effect of Earning a GED Diploma on Recidivism Rates
September, 2003

Nuttall, John
Correctional Education Association

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

This study presents data comparing recidivism rates of inmates who earned their GED (General Equivalency Diploma) while incarcerated in the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) with inmates who were released from the Department with no degree. Previous research has suggested that correctional education has a positive effect on recidivism rates of offenders. This study compares the recidivism rate of inmates who earned a GED while incarcerated with two other groups: 1) inmates who already had a high school diploma or GED upon their admission to the Department, and 2) inmates who failed to earn a GED while incarcerated. Additionally, this comparison is made for inmates who were under age 21 at the time of their release and for those who were 21 or older at the time of their release. The findings indicate that those inmates who earned a GED while incarcerated returned to custody within three years at a significantly lower rate than offenders who did not earn a GED while incarcerated. The relationship between GED attainment and return-to-custody is particularly strong among offenders who were under age 21 at release.

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