Students In Online Schools Learn Less Than Peers In Traditional Schools, Study Finds

Oct 29, 2015

A new study finds students learn less at online charter schools than they do at traditional schools -- and the problem is even worse for Florida students.

Researchers at Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes found students who attend online charter schools lost the equivalent of 72 days worth of learning in reading and 180 days worth of learning in math during the four years of the study. That’s compared to students who attend traditional public schools.

The typical school year is 180 days.

Stanford University researchers compared students attending more than 150 online charter schools in 17 states to demographic “twins” at traditional public schools.

The differences are even more dramatic in Florida. Online students lost almost twice as much reading and math learning as peers who attend traditional public schools.

Advocates argue that many students learn more at online charter schools. But they concede that online schools aren’t working well enough for most students.

Online charter schools are also criticizing the study’s methodology. They say comparing demographically similar students in online charter schools and traditional public schools isn’t fair.