Florida Virtual School: A growing enterprise
The largest and oldest state-funded online school in the nation
falls outside many traditional measures of educational success.
While traditional schools report graduation and drop out rates, FLVS does not and instead cites course completion rates as a measure of strength. The Times attemped to compare how FLVS did versus students in traditional schools and examined the results of the Advanced Placement exam. FLVS is now moving towards end-of-course exams like all of Florida's public school districts.
AP test score data
Like many Florida public school districts, FLVS offers a number of the popular college-caliber classes and has a high participation rate. However it did not require students to take the AP exam until 2010. Over time, online students have done about as well or better than the state average in most subjects.
Test passage rates over time
At first glance, scores show that Florida Virtual's students perform about as well or better on AP exams on average as students do nationally. But between 2004 and 2009, the percentages of Florida Virtual pupils enrolled in AP courses who took the course-end exam was only between 54 percent and 65 percent each year. School leaders in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties reported well over 90 percent of students taking the test. In 2010, Florida Virtual began requiring students to take the AP exams in the subjects it offers and participation jumped to 80 percent.
This chart shows the testing and test passage rate for all AP classes offered by FLVS each year.
Comparison of 2010-2011 AP Exam scores for FLVS and local districts
This is a direct comparison of how Pinellas and Hillsborough students performed on the tests for the 14 AP classes that FLVS offered in 2010-2011. AP exams are scored on a five-point scale. A score of 3 or better is considered passing and earns a student college credit at most universities. For comparative purposes, these numbers reflect total particpation and passage rates only in the courses that FLVS also offers: Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Computer Science A, English Language & Composition, English Literature & Composition, Environmental Science, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Spanish Language, Statistics. US Government & Politics, US History and World History. In Hillsborough county, about 90 percent of 18,930 AP students took the test but their scores were not available.
*In Hillsborough County, some students who were not enrolled in an AP class in 2010-2011 took the AP exam. Their figures also include Hillsborough-based FLVS students who took AP tests.
Download test score data:
- Power-point presentationfrom FLVS about how students have performed
- PDF showing students who withdrew froman AP class with a failing grade or completed a calss with a failing grade, and completed the class with a passing grade.
- Spreadsheet file showing the raw student scores for all Florida Virtual's AP tests from 2003-04 to 2009-10.
- Spreadsheet showing raw student scores for tests taken in the 2010-11 school year.