Indiana virtual charter schools linked to a decline in student test scores, a new study shows

Stephanie Wang:
Faced with low academic results at online schools across the country, supporters often defend virtual education because it provides a haven for struggling students.

But a new study in Indiana found that students fell further behind after transferring to virtual charter schools. The findings suggest that online schools post low outcomes not simply because the students they serve face challenges, but because of problems with how online learning works — and the shortfalls of not having a physical classroom.

The new research, to be published in the journal Educational Researcher, is in line with other studies that have shown that students who transfer to virtual charter schools saw significant drops in their math and reading scores.