In 7th grade, I hated fractions. They were the bane of my existence. I just couldn’t get a handle on them—I even had nightmares! I went to the teacher after class, but there wasn’t enough time for him to really help me understand, and he couldn’t slow down the pace of the class. It was very frustrating.
Many students experience this same problem. For a variety of reasons ranging from undiagnosed learning disabilities to boredom to classroom distractions, they may fall behind in one or more subjects and can’t get the individual attention they need to catch up. When students don’t get the help they need, they may become so frustrated that they simply tune out or even start skipping school. In the worst-case scenario, they may even drop out and not receive a High School diploma. In fact, every 29 seconds another student gives up on school (National Center for Education Statistics).
Without a high school diploma, it can be difficult to find a good job that enables someone to pay their bills—or even to find a job at all. Ron Packard, the CEO and Founder of K12, wrote in his new book Education Transformation that, “In 1950, 80 percent of U.S. jobs were unskilled. Today, that number is less than 20 percent.” With the U.S. moving increasingly towards a ‘service’ rather than ‘manufacturing’ industrial base, a solid education is critical. In fact, even now 44 percent of dropouts under age 24 are jobless (United States Department of Labor, 2012) and that number is likely to worsen as hiring companies continue to up the ante on what is considered basic skills.
So how can online learning make a difference? In many ways online schools provide the support struggling students need. K12’s mastery-based approach means that a student must demonstrate knowledge at the 80% or better level before moving on—and it allows students to take extra time needed to grasp touch concepts. Because the assessments are online and readily visible to teachers and Learning Coaches, these students also can get intervention right when it’s needed.
Click the image to get an even deeper look into two possible paths for a struggling student.
Maybe if I was in an online school the dreams of fractions chasing me wouldn’t have existed. That certainly would have been nice! I hope online school can help other struggling students catch up and thrive.