THE COUNCIL OF STATE GOVERNMENTS

AUGUST 2013

CAPITOL FACTS & FIGURES
EDUCATION

Digital Learning Boosts Student Engagement
A personalized education gives students the opportunity to graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary for college and careers.

• Digital learning is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience. Digital learning encompasses a wide spectrum of tools and practices, including: »» Online and formative assessment; »» An increase in the focus and quality of teaching resources and time; »» Online content and courses; »» Applications of technology in the classroom and school building; »» Adaptive software for students with special needs; »» Learning platforms; »» Participation in professional communities of practice; and »» Access to high-level and challenging content and instruction.1 • Teachers become leaders and guide students through their educational path, ensuring they stay on track for graduation. • Learning is adaptive and interactive software allows students to learn at their own pace which then is evaluated by competency-based assessments. • Digital learning can be full-time online, part-time, where a student enrolls in individual online courses while taking traditional brick-and-mortar classes, or full-time blended, where digital learning is combined with other modes of learning. • Digital learning allows students to use technology to learn in and beyond the classroom. • Students can extend the traditional school day or school year through the Internet, online resources and opportunities for expanded research. • A classroom is no longer necessary for learning to take place; students learn through the use of technology and a multitude of devices.

Technology as an Instructional Practice

»» Personalized learning: All students can use digital learning to customize their education. »» Advancement: Students progress based on demonstrated competency. »» Quality Content: Digital content and courses are high quality. »» Quality Instruction: Digital instruction is highquality. »» Quality Choices: All students have access to multiple high-quality digital providers. »» Assessment and Accountability: Student learning is the metric for evaluating the quality of content and instruction. »» Funding: Funding creates incentives for performance, options and innovations. »» Delivery: Infrastructure supports digital learning.2

Technology to Boost Student Achievement

Elements of Digital Learning

• According to Digital Learning Now!, a program operated by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, an organization focused on education reform, the 10 elements of high-quality digital learning are: »» Student eligibility: All students are digital learners. »» Student access: All students have access to highquality digital learning.

• Nearly 80 percent of K-12 teachers and administrators believe technology has positively impacted the classroom and the productivity of students.3 • Roughly 65 percent of educators surveyed by CompTIA in 2012 also believe that students are more productive today than they were three years ago because of the increased use of technology in the classroom.4 • Technology infuses classrooms with digital learning tools, such as computers and hand held devices; expands course offerings, experiences, and learning materials; supports learning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; builds 21st century skills; increases student engagement and motivation; and accelerates learning.5

• Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia support online learning opportunities that range from supplementing classroom instruction on an occasional basis to enrolling students in full-time programs.6 • Only Alabama, Florida, and Michigan require students to take at least one course online, though Virginia and North Carolina will add the requirement for students in the graduating classes of 2017 and 2020, respectively.7 • Twenty-two states allow students to enroll in online courses without caps on class size or geographic boundaries.8 • Several states advanced policies to eliminate the road blocks of seat time and class size regulations that interfere with competency-based and blended learning models.9

State Policies and Digital Learning

REFERENCES
Alliance for Excellent Education. “Culture Shift: Teaching in a Learner-Centered Environment Powered by Digital Learning.” (2012) Accessed at http://www.all4ed.org/files/CultureShift.pdf 2 Foundation for Excellence in Education. “Digital Learning Now! 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning.” (2010) Accessed at: www.digitallearningnow.com/10elements/ 3 CompTIA: The IT Industry Association. “IT Opportunities in the Education Market.” (2011) Accessed at: http://www.comptia.org/news/pressreleases/11-06-28/Making_the_Grade_Technology_Helps_ Boosts_Student_Performance_Staff_Productivity_in_Nation%E2%80%99s_Schools_New_ CompTIA_Study_Finds.aspx 4 Ibid 5 U.S. Department of Education. “Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning.” (2013) Accessed at http://www.ed.gov/oii-news/use-technology-teaching-and-learning 6 Ibid 7 Foundation for Excellence in Education. “Digital Learning Now! Digital Learning Report Card.” (2012) Accessed at: http://www.digitallearningnow.com/wp-content/uploads/ reportcard/2012/2012ReportCard.pdf 8 Ibid 9 Ibid
1

Pam Goins, Director, CSG Center for Innovation and Transformation in Education pgoins@csg.org

Student Eligibility • All students must be provided opportunities to access online courses throughout their entire K-12 experience • All students must complete at least one online course to earn a high school diploma Student Access • Digital learning environments, including online and blended learning schools, courses, and models, have flexibility with class size restrictions and student-teacher ratios • No school district may restrict student enrollment in full-time online school or in an individual online course through enrollment caps or geographic boundaries • All student can enroll in an unlimited number of individual online courses Personalized Learning • All students may enroll with more than one online course provider simultaneously • All students may enroll in and begin an individual online course on a rolling basis anytime throughout the year Advancement • All students must demonstrate mastery on standards-based competencies to earn credit for a course and to advance to the succeeding course • All students are provided multiple opportunities during the year to take end-of-course exams • All students earn credits based on competency and are not required to complete a defined amount of instructional time to earn credit • All districts and approved providers in the state accept credits from all other districts and state-approved providers Quality Content • All digital content and instruction must be aligned with state standards or Common Core State Standards • No additional burdens are placed on the approval and procurement processes for digital content beyond those for print content

• Instructional material funding may be used for purchasing digital content and systems Quality Instruction • State allows alternative routes for teacher certification • State allows reciprocity among other states for certification of teachers • There is a statewide definition for “teacher of record” • Teachers are permitted to be “teacher of record” in multiple schools • Student performance data is used to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers • Professional development in digital learning is available to teachers teaching an online or blended learning course Quality Choices • Statewide digital provider authorization includes: »» virtual charter schools »» full time online schools »» part time individual online courses • The criteria, process and timeframe for authorizing online providers are clearly defined • Online providers, including virtual charter schools, full time online providers, and individual online course providers are allowed to appeal decisions or revise and resubmit their applications after a denial • Multiple opportunities during the year are available for virtual charter schools, full time online providers and individual online course providers to apply for approval • Approval of digital providers lasts for three or more years • State maintains a website that provides information and links to all digital learning opportunities, including all approved virtual charter schools, full time online schools and individual online course providers Assessment and Accountability • State-mandated assessments in core subjects, including annual assessments, end-of-course exams and high school exit exams, must be administered digitally either online or on a computer

• Outcomes-based student performance data is used to evaluate the quality of virtual charter schools, full time online providers and individual online courses • As determined by outcomes-based student performance data these poor performing schools and course must be closed: »» virtual charter schools »» full time online schools »» individual online course providers Funding • Public funds are available for online learning »» all district public school students »» all charter public school students »» all private school students »» all home education students • State funding for digital learning is provided through the public per-pupil school funding formula • Funding is provided on a fractional, per course basis to pay providers for individual online courses • Funding follows the student to the school or course of their choice • The same per-pupil funding with the same payment process is provided to all virtual charter schools, full time online schools and individual online course providers, regardless of whether the school is public, charter, notfor-profit or for-profit • Providers receive final funding payment upon course completion based on student daily attendance, performance and competency Delivery • All schools have high speed broadband Internet access • All teachers are provided with Internet access devices • All students have access to Internet access devices • All of the Data Quality Campaign’s 10 State Actions to Ensure an Effective Data Use are achieved Source: Digital Learning Now!, Nation’s Digital Learning Report Card

Digital Learning Now!’s National Digital Learning Report Card
State

Overall Grade
F F D+ F F D+ F F B+ B D D F C F BDC+ D+ F F CB F F F F D F F D F CF D D+ DF D+ C D+ F CAF BC D+ D D+

Student Eligibility
D F D F F F F F A F F D F D F F F F F F D A D F F F D F F F F F F F F D F F F F F F D D F C D F F F

Student Access
F A A F C C F D+ AAD+ C D+ A D+ B D+ C C C F F A B A F AF F B D+ F D+ C C A D+ D+ D+ B C D+ C A D+ D+ B C AD+

Personalized Learning
C C A F C C F F A A F F C C F A F C C F C F C F C C F F C F C F F C F C F C C C A F C A F C C C F A

Advancement
C D F F F F F F D C C D F F F C F C C C F F A F C C F B+ BF F F B+ F D B+ F F D B+ B+ F A A A D D+ A F F

Quality Content
A F A D B A D D A A A A B A A A A A A A F A A A D A A A A A A A A D A A A A A A B A A A A A A A A A

Quality Instruction
C+ D B+ AC+ B+ CA C B+ B+ CCB+ C+ B+ B+ A F C F A C+ CC+ C F F C+ CAC+ A F C+ D+ C+ CB+ C+ D C+ CC+ CA CAB+ A

Quality Choices
F F D+ CD+ AF F B A F D+ CCF D+ C B A A D+ CA F F F F A F D+ D F C+ F D+ D+ B+ D+ C A AF CA F A A F F B+

Assessment & Accountability
F F C F F C D+ F AAF B F B AAF AF F C B F C F C D+ F F F AC D+ F C F D+ F C AF F F A F A C F C F

Funding
F F F F F F F F A C F D+ F F F B F AF F F D B F F F F F F F F F F F F D+ F F F F F F F A F D C+ D F B

Delivery
D F F F F F F C D D C F F BF D+ BF BF F D D+ D F F F D F F F F C F D F F D D+ D F D D BF C F D C F

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Source: Digital Learning Now!, Nation’s Digital Learning Report Card Accessed at: http://www.digitallearningnow.com/reportcard/#grade0

THE COUNCIL OF STATE GOVERNMENTS

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