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Online-Only Schools Show Dismal Performance

Students who attend online charter schools – and receive no instruction from an in-person teacher – tend to do much worse than their peers in bricks-and-mortar schools, according to new research released Tuesday.

Some students in online-only schools showed academic results in math that were the equivalent of what would be expected if a student skipped 180 days of school – virtually a full year’s worth of classes. In reading, the deficiency was the equivalent of 72 days of school.

Described as first-of-its-kind research, the analysis was conducted through a partnership between Mathematica Policy Research, Stanford University’s CREDO (Center for Research on Education Outcomes) and the Center on Reinventing Public Education. The report and companion policy papers are available online.