Have a Question?
Ask the Graduate
College at our new
Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Margaret Elizabeth Munger
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: NovaNET Online Curricula and the Course Completion of Alternative High School Students
Dr. Sue Poppink, Chair
Dr. Dennis McCrumb
Dr. Allen Webb
Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
3306 Sangren Hall
Studies on alternative schools have previously been qualitative in nature and provide information on the characteristics of a quality alternative school. Quantitative research in the area of alternative education has been limited. Previous research involving NovaNET Online Curriculum centers on credit recovery, remediation, and a small amount has been conducted on student use of the system. Currently, many alternative schools are using NovaNET or other online curricula to assist students towards graduation without the possibility of losing credit due to poor attendance. The system is being marketed as a means for students to earn additional credits and progress towards graduation faster. In addition, it is also marketed as a means to meet NCLB and ED Yes requirements to narrow the achievement gap and as an online learning experience now required by the Michigan Merit Curriculum. Is the NovaNET system working for the alternative high school population, and if so, is it working for all students equally based on learning style, reading level, gender, ethnicity and age?
This study combines archived data from one alternative school for 135 subjects from 2005-2008. The dataset consists of the number of completed courses, gender, ethnicity, NWEA Reading RIT score and lexile score, age at the time of the NWEA test, and number of semesters enrolled. From this dataset, several statistical analyses were conducted including basic descriptive statistics (means, frequency, standard deviation), analyses of variance (ANOVA), t-tests, a traditional least squares regression (LS), and a more robust Wilcoxon analysis.
In summary, NovaNET Online curriculum is allowing students to earn credit potentially at a faster rate than a traditional classroom experience. However, a majority (70%) is earning the same number of credits as a regular classroom experience while enrolled, and only 30% are actually earning additional credits towards graduation. Females are outperforming males, and a minimum NWEA RIT score of 219 is needed to improve the likelihood of earning more credits than in a classroom experience. There does not seem to be a significant relationship between ethnicity and number of completed courses; however, the sample was not diverse enough to provide a valid analysis. Age and number of semesters enrolled both had positive correlations with the number of completed courses. This study reveals that, though NovaNET online curriculum is a useful tool, it is not working equally for all alternative students.