A new study from the National Education Policy Center at the University Colorado indicates that K-12 Idaho online students are lagging behind other children who attend traditional schools. The Associated Press reports that the study examined progress—or the lack thereof—of online students managed by the Virginia-based K12, Inc. in Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The NEPC had issued previous reports critical of online learning, saying that some states were "rushing headlong into virtual education" despite limited data on the programs.
The latest survey found that online students in the K12 program had consistently lower math and reading skills compared to state averages. Additionally, the on-time graduation rates for K12 students was approximately 49 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, compared to 79 percent for traditional students.
School reforms, passed by the 2011 Idaho Legislature as part of the Students Come First initiative, now require Idaho students to take at least two credits online to graduate high school.