Online High Schools Test Students’ Social Skills
The Wall Street Journal
SEPTEMBER 24, 2009
. . .Most online high schools are relatively young, and there has been little research on cyber students’ academic performance or social adaptation. But education experts say that studies looking at home-schooling suggest that students educated in nontraditional environments perform as well academically as their peers at conventional schools.
“When you look at home-school students compared to public or private school students, we have some reliable evidence to show that students are doing about the same but not better [in home school],” said Luis Huerta, a professor of public policy and education at Teachers College at Columbia University.
Researchers affiliated with home-schooling cite their own studies showing that home schoolers outperform their conventionally educated counterparts on standardized tests.
Some online schools let students tackle the curriculum on their own schedule; others create a virtual classroom of students and teachers using video feeds, online chat and PowerPoint presentations. Online schools appeal to gifted students who want to work at their own pace, students who dropped out of traditional high schools or who are taught at home by their families, students who travel with globe-trotting parents and teens with competitive outside pursuits like ballet, tennis or gymnastics. . .