What We Know About Assessing Online Learning in Secondary Schools

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In this chapter, the authors examine past and current efforts in evaluating the quality of online high school courses. They argue that policy organizations in the United States have made recommendations to guide the design and delivery of effective high school online courses. However, past efforts at determining the quality of online courses have focused primarily on broad-based program evaluations and the development of standards lacking specific evaluation criteria. They propose the development of evaluation processes and instruments based on solid theoretical foundations which embody learnercentered instructional practices, communities of inquiry, and a proven record of empirically-based research results. They suggest that a history of research evaluating instructional effectiveness using the Seven Principles of Effective Teaching combined with the inclusion of principles of cognitive presence in assessing deep learning may provide a useful framework for establishing empirically-based guidelines for evaluating the quality of online instruction

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