Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Douglas Lare

Second Advisor

Meghan Twiest

Third Advisor

Richard Otto

Abstract

Little is known about the inner workings of virtual schools, and despite this, increasing numbers of parents and students are choosing cyber school as their platform for their education. Growth in the number of cyber charter schools, and their enrollment, continue to climb higher despite limited evidence of their educational effectiveness. Indications are that cyber charter enrollment demographics, while being somewhat elusive, show that many cyber charter schools are enrolling a larger percentage of students who may not possess the internal beliefs, or skill sets, that are suggestive to being successful in the online educational environment.

This mixed methods study examines the relationship between students’ academic self-efficacy, their locus of control, and their earned grades in the completion of high school cyber courses. The answer to these questions could have implications on how schools and students decide if online learning is a suitable choice for particular individuals. This research may also provide cyber organizations with information that may assist in the altering of the typical cyber school offerings and methodology to better ensure the success of all online students.

The quantitative findings in this study provided support to the relationship of academic self-efficacy and students’ earned grades in high school cyber courses. This study did not find quantitative support for a relationship between locus of control and students’ earned grades in high school cyber courses. The qualitative findings of this study, while supporting the quantitative results, revealed the complex process of student migration from brick-and-mortar schools to virtual schools.

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