Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Jonathan Becker


The rapid growth in online learning opportunities and online courses in K-12 education is well documented in the literature. Studies conducted by various researchers that have focused on the K-12 population of online learners demonstrate that certain online learner characteristics and online learning environment characteristics may impact the likelihood of students passing or failing online courses. Research has produced models that predict online course success with measurable degrees of accuracy. This descriptive study examines characteristics of students enrolled in online high school courses provided by a virtual learning program administered by a single Virginia public school district. The study determined that students’ prior academic success; confidence in their technology skills and access to technology; confidence in their ability to achieve; and strong beliefs in their organizational skills proved to have a significant statistical relationship with online course success. The study developed a model with these factors that predicted success in online courses with a high degree of accuracy and predicted failure with a moderate degree of accuracy.The study has policy implications for public school leaders in Virginia as they implement recent state legislation requiring students to successfully complete a virtual course to graduate from public high school. The study indicates that additional research is warranted to further delineate learner and learning environment characteristics producing a model that more accurately predicts failure in online courses. Additional research is warranted with larger samples from single district virtual programs.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013