Keeping Pace in Review: National Snapshot of Online Learning Activity

Keeping Pace 2013 is released, and is available for download at Over the coming weeks we’re going to post highlights of the report here in our blog. One of the key strengths of each Keeping Pace report is the ability to see what ALL states offer in terms of online options for K-12 students as we believe this national perspective is critical to understanding the K-12 online learning landscape. While we know that students in states such as Florida and Minnesota have access to a variety of options and providers, that is not the case in most states.

The first table in the report, the National Snapshot of Online Learning Activity, presents all 50 states rated in six categories of online learning activity: fully online and supplemental online options for elementary school, middle school, and high school students. The table can be found on pp. 11-15 of Keeping Pace 2013; an excerpt is included below.

The table ratings are based on expected availability of online learning options to students of all grade levels in all geographic areas of each state during SY 2013-14. Availability is, in turn, based on the existence and attributes of programs, state policy, and funding, and the proportion of the student population that took part in online courses and schools during SY 2012-13. The rating for each category in each state is based on a mix of objective metrics and subjective determination; several factors were taken into account; details about our methodology are included on p. 11.

Any summary rating system must balance the competing needs of accurately describing as many data points as possible with keeping the number of categories and ratings low enough to be meaningful. States that have significant online programs that are not available across all grades or locations were particularly challenging. An empty circle does not necessarily mean there are no online learning opportunities in the state in that category. It does suggest that if such options exist they are restricted to a very small percentage of the student population.

A primary goal of Keeping Pace is to support the expansion of high-quality learning options for all students; this table allows the reader to see that while we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go in most states.