With yesterday’s announcement of CLRN’s partnership with the University of California, online courses must now be CLRN-Certified before U.C. will review them for their A-G requirements. That we’ve set the bar at 80% of both the content standards and the online course standards may be seen as too generous. However, we believe it’s a fair starting point, given that not all standards are equal. The addition of our online course Power Standards requirement ensures that critical standards are met in order to earn CLRN-Certified status. We believe our partnership will help drive course quality and provide stronger courses to our customers.
So, how have CLRN’s currently reviewed courses fared?
Over the past year, CLRN has reviewed 55 online courses from seven publishers. 15 courses from six publishers, 27% of the total, have earned the CLRN-Certified badge. You can easily find certified courses through our search page . Simply select the “CLRN Certified” check-box and narrow your search by subject or grade level. In addition, we’ve added a CLRN-Certified badge to all certified course reviews.
11 additional courses from four publishers met the 80%/80% requirements for content and course standards, but failed to earn certification because of a single Power Standard: online course standard D10, which requires that course materials are accessible to all students. In each of the 11 courses, instructional lectures and/or narrated presentations did not include closed captions or transcripts, which we believe is an easy fix. If each of these courses are modified to meet D10, and we hope they are, 47% of our reviewed courses will be CLRN-Certified. For more information about why D10 is important, read “What Part of the Accessible memo didn’t you get?” from my “Advice for Course Creators and Buyers” post.
The most common problem with the majority of courses that are not certified is with their alignment with the content or Common Core State Standards. While there are exactly 52 online course standards, the number of content standards per course varies between 19 for AP Probability and Statistics to 106 for ninth grade English-language arts courses aligned to CA’s original standards. Regardless of the number of content standards, the 80% requirement applies. 20 courses (36%) failed to teach 80% of the content standards for their course. These range from a low of 34% to a high of 78%. The median (half the courses had more, half had less) percentage of content standards met was 57%.
As we mentioned in the beginning, we hope our partnership with the University of California helps drive course quality and improvement. While the CLRN’s reviews are effective for three years (and certification ends three years after a review is published), CLRN typically will not re-review a course unless there is a major update. However, because we don’t want the certification process to be punitive, we’ve created new policies to encourage course improvement. We’ll share these in tomorrow’s post.