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Despite the relatively large number of students enrolled in Ohio’s virtual schools, it is unclear how virtual schools compare to their traditional school counterparts on measures of student achievement. To provide some insight, we compared the school performance from 2007-2011 at Ohio’s virtual and traditional schools. The results suggest that Ohio’s virtual schools have grown rapidly, but have also experienced much lower levels of school performance than traditional schools. In light of these findings, we discuss factors that may be contributing to the large number of low-performing virtual schools in Ohio. Considering the lack of sufficient evidence that Ohio’s virtual schools are effective, we conclude that the relentless pursuit to expand virtual schools is problematic.


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Wang, Y., & Decker, J. R. (2014). Can virtual schools thrive in the real world? TechTrends, 58(6), 57-62. doi: 10.1007/s11528-014-0804-z