About Keeping Pace
Keeping Pace has several goals. First, it strives to add to the body of knowledge about online education policy and practice, and make recommendations for advances. Second, it serves as a reference source for information about programs and policies across the country, both for policymakers and practitioners who are new to online education, and for those who have extensive experience in the field. Third, because there has been so much online education activity in the past year, the report attempts to capture new activity.
The Keeping Pace 2013 report:
- Provides a national “snapshot” of the state of online learning as of fall 2013 using original data.
- Presents program profiles from a cross-section of program types, including state-led and district-led, supplemental and full-time, charter schools, and both synchronous and asynchronous programs.
- Provides profiles of K-12 online and learning policy and program activity for each state, in alphabetical order.
- Identifies key issues and trends in online learning, building on the data gathered through the development of the program and state profiles.
The information found in Keeping Pace 2013 came from a combination of Internet research, emails, and phone interviews with personnel from state education agencies, online programs, and other sources. We are grateful to these contacts for generously giving their time and support to our research efforts.
For state profiles, research and reviews of state laws were combined with phone interviews and emails. For states with little new activity in 2013, in many cases personnel reviewed and made minor changes to state profiles presented in Keeping Pace 2012. In most cases, the state education agency reviewed the final version of the profile for accuracy. In a field that is growing and changing as rapidly as online education, timeliness of information is imperative, and indeed timeliness has been one of the drivers of interest in Keeping Pace. Research for this year’s report was conducted from May through mid-September of 2013, and every effort has been made to ensure currency of information as of October 1, 2013.
Keeping Pace researchers received data from many of the education management organizations operating online and blended schools nationwide, and most state virtual schools. We believe that our research and survey efforts are reaching the schools and programs that account for well over 50% of online and blended learning students, although nowhere close to 50% of the online and blended programs in the country, because of the long tail of distribution that represents many online programs serving a small number of students, individually and collectively.
In addition to the methods discussed above, the sponsoring organizations for Keeping Pace provided extensive expertise and knowledge of the state of online learning across the country. This report would not be possible without their thoughtful contributions, and expertise. We have made every attempt to ensure accuracy of the information in Keeping Pace, but we recognize that, in a report of this breadth, some errors of accuracy or omission are likely, and are the full responsibility of the Evergreen Education Group. We welcome comments, clarifications, and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The educators and policymakers who gave their time to provide the information for Keeping Pace are another set of key contributors to the report. We have been consistently surprised by the amount of time and quality of responses we receive from people around the country; this report would not be possible without their input.
The amount of research required to develop the report continues to grow each year. In addition to the Evergreen team, Sara Frank Bristow contributed to the state profile research process.