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Title:  A What Works Clearinghouse Rapid Evidence Review of Distance Learning Programs
Description: Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, educators and school administrators need to understand the available distance learning models and programs that may assist students who attend school from a remote location. To meet this need, this rapid evidence review sought to identify and report on what works in distance learning educational programming. After an extensive search and screening process, the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) reviewed 36 studies spanning kindergarten through postsecondary education. Fifteen studies met the WWC Group Design Standards; of those, four met the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Tier 1 requirements. An evidence gap map analysis found that while several effective distance learning programs for K8 students were identified, few studies of distance learning programs for high school students met WWC Group Design Standards. In addition, a meta-analysis of studies with similar design characteristics (nine in total) found that, on average, students in the distance learning programs improved in the English language arts (ELA) outcome domain but not in the mathematics domain, compared with students in business-as-usual conditions. Although the meta-analytic results are promising, continued research using rigorous, randomized designs should be a priority.
Online Availability:
Cover Date: January 2021
Web Release: January 26, 2021
Publication #: WWC RER012621
Center/Program: WWC
Associated Centers: NCEE
Type of Product: Quick Review
Questions: For questions about the content of this Quick Review, please contact:
Erin Pollard.