FLVS Collaborates with Research Partners

Blended and online learning are still relatively new modes of Kindergarten-12th grade learning. As they continue to grow, learning more about what makes them effective for students is critically important. 

Research and Evaluation is an arm of our Analysis, Assessment, and Accountability department at Florida Virtual School. Part of this team’s work includes collaborating with universities and other research partners to broaden and contribute to blended and online learning research focused on primary and secondary educational environments. 

In blog posts from our research team, we plan to highlight a few of our most recent projects.

How Florida School Districts Use FLVS Courses

Dr. Richard Hartshorne, University of Central Florida

Blended learning combines students learning in a traditional school setting and an online environment; it also provides students some sort of autonomy over the learning process.  Many FLVS students take courses in blended learning environments and there have been few educational research studies that focus on blended learning in high schools.  In 2017, FLVS and the University of Central Florida partnered to investigate how Florida school districts using FLVS courses implement blended learning models.

In the audio clip above, Dr. Hartshorne speaks to the four phases of this work. The FLVS/UCF team looks forward to sharing important insights from this study in the coming months!

Hospital Homebound Students & Online Learning

Dr. Erik Black, University of Florida

The hospital homebound student population provided a unique research opportunity for University of Florida and Florida Virtual School researchers. By definition, these students must meet specific criteria, including having a disabling condition or diagnosis with medical implications for instruction.

There is much to learn about how online schools can serve these students effectively. As educators looking to ensure learning personally addresses individual student needs, our research team realized the importance of developing a stronger understanding of hospital homebound students enrolled in FLVS courses. In this clip, Dr. Erik Black speaks to this learning and the team’s next steps.

Improving Student Success in Online Learning

Dr. Diana Sharp, Regional Educational Lab

The Regional Educational Lab (REL) Southeast has partnered with FLVS to seek relevant insights into improving student success in online learning.  This team is currently studying effective teaching practices in the FLVS Biology course. Each FLVS Biology teacher interacts with students who might be retaking the course, who are in different grade levels, and who have varied academic backgrounds, providing a rich data source from which to learn.

Teachers’ impact on student outcomes will include important variables such as prior science and mathematics achievement alongside students’ course segment exam and End of Course exam scores. 

We look forward to sharing our learning from this study in a future post!

Horn & Staker, 2011; Kassner, 2013
Fernandez, Ferdig, Thompson, Schottke, and Black, 2016
Tovine, Fleetwood, Shepherd, Tapoler, Hartshorne, & Pesce, 2019

April FleetwoodApril Fleetwood, Director of Accountability, Research, and Measurement, manages university and internal research opportunities at FLVS that focus on best practices and student achievement in online learning for grades K-12. She started her career teaching high school English after graduating from the University of Florida with her Master of Education in 2007. She joined FLVS and received her Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida in 2017.

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