Virtual Academy reports mixed results

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. — The online academy in Dearborn Heights School District 7 is a financial success, but not all students are succeeding academically, according to the (Southgate) Press & Guide.

Of the 45 students enrolled in Dearborn Heights Virtual Academy in its first term, 11 passed all courses, 17 passed at least two courses, seven failed and others dropped out or were asked to leave, the Press & Guide reported. The national average pass rate in online education is 47 percent, director Lynn Wietecha told the board, according to the Press & Guide.

Failing students generally logged on for less than three hours a day, though the recommended time is five hours, Wietecha said, according to the Press & Guide. They also struggled with reading and some need math tutoring.

“Online learning isn’t for everyone. It’s hard,” Wietecha said, the Press & Guide reported. Six of the passing students had never before passed a high school course.

Financially, the district received nearly $330,000 in state reimbursements of $7,316 per student for the program, but anticipates spending only $197,000 for the year, Wietecha told the board, according to the Press & Guide.

(Southgate) Press & Guide, “Heights Virtual Academy a financial success,” Feb. 8, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Virtual Learning in Michigan’s Schools,” Jan. 27, 2011