School Districts Are Using Blended Learning, but Aren’t Keeping Data on Student Outcomes

At the Christensen Institute we are partnering with the Evergreen Education Group to research and profile district schools with measurable positive student results from having adopted blended learning

We published the first of these reports recently as a series of case studies titled Proof Points: Blended Learning Success in School Districts. We’ll be releasing more profiles in the weeks ahead.

We would be remiss, however, if we didn’t also point out how many districts employing blended learning do not even track student success data—and what a problem this is along several dimensions (including that it violates the first step we outline for schools implementing blended learning in our book Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, in which we show educators why starting with a SMART rallying cry—a specific, measurable goal that drives their blended-learning implementation and allows everyone to know what constitutes success—is so important).

This is a trend that we’ve noticed since we began researching the field; one school district my colleague Katherine Mackey profiled in a case study several years ago didn’t even know how many students it had served in its dropout recovery program in a given year, let alone how they had fared in the program. But our research process for this project highlighted just what a significant problem it is.

As John Watson of Evergreen Education wrote in a blog post, when we released the initial survey asking for examples of blended learning success, we received 65 responses. Half of the submissions said they did not have student outcomes data—shocking in its own right but even more so given the survey said we were looking explicitly for measurable student success.

If we are to help school districts implement blended learning not just for its own sake but to transform our education system into one that allows all children to realize their fullest potential, then we need to amplify the stories of these proof points from around the nation that are doing it right—and push districts to get more rigorous.

– Michael Horn

This is the third of three blog entries by Michael Horn on public school blended learning proof points. The first one is here and the second one is here. They first appeared on

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