Proof Points: Blended Learning Success in School Districts

In a post earlier this week I explained that among the "noise" of blended learning research, signals of success exist--and that we would be publishing some examples soon. Today we and the Christensen Institute released the first of two sets of case studies that examine blended learning efforts in six traditional school districts, and the correlated improved student outcomes. Proof Points: Blended Learning Success provides profiles of leaders in blended learning and explores their innovative strategies. Profiles include:

  • Innovations Early College High School, in Salt Lake City, UT, was created to address concerns about the number of students who were becoming disengaged and dropping out of their schools. For the 2013–14 school year, its graduation rate was substantially higher than the average graduation rate of the district, state, and nation.
  • Poudre School District Global Academy, in Fort Collins, CO, opened in the fall of 2009 to provide a flexible school option for students in grades K–12. Based on student growth measures in several different grade levels and subject areas, the PSD Global Academy is ranked as the first or second best school in the district and is in the top 5% of all schools in the state.
  • Randolph Central School District (Randolph, NY) created a blended-learning program at the elementary school that focused on differentiated instruction. Since implementing the blended program, math scores on state assessments have improved significantly across the board.
  • Spokane Public Schools (Spokane WA) has developed and implemented blended learning in numerous programs across the district with a goal of increasing graduation rates and college and career readiness. The district has increased its graduation rate from 60% in 2007 to 83% in 2014.
  • Spring City Elementary Hybrid Learning School (Spring City, PA) uses a three-station Station Rotation model of blended learning. It has seen improved test scores in math, reading, and science since implementing its blended-learning program.

These cases demonstrate the variety of ways in which blended learning may be implemented, and also notable characteristics that are consistent across the group. These include strong leadership at the school or district level, dynamic and engaging instruction from online and onsite teachers, and digital content and platforms that allow students greater control over their learning. All of the educators interviewed indicated that they are in the early stages of blended learning implementation and expect their programs to grow into larger roles within each district.

The second set of profiles will be released next month. Additionally, school leaders from the Proof Points case studies will present at the International Association for K-12 Online Learning symposium in Orlando this November

We are grateful to our partners at Christensen for working with us on this research, and especially to the school and district leaders who gave us their time to better understand and profile their work.

Subsequent blog posts will explore some of these blended learning programs in more detail.