Online high schools in Missouri
Online high schools in Missouri offer parents and students a self-paced alternative to on-campus schools. The state government oversees the curriculum at the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program, created in 2005 to provide access to all students, 24 hours a day. Tuition is paid by individual school districts, by private schools or by parents -- depending upon the local district.
Tuition-based Missouri online high schools boast options such as a college preparatory curriculum that mixes core education with elective courses. Private schools often feature open enrollment and personalized studies for students with special needs and busy schedules.
The state's A+ Program focuses squarely on college preparation. According to Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, "A+ high schools are providing more rigorous coursework as a result of the A+ program and students are rising to the challenge." Qualifying graduates of Missouri schools are afforded the opportunity to enroll in ongoing education through Missouri's community colleges at no cost up for up to four years after graduation. As online education becomes a larger part of the college experience in Missouri, many schools and universities are transitioning toward a blend of technology that may assist in bringing higher education to students online and on-campus.The A+ Program may benefit such students by reducing financial barriers and helping prepare them for college-level coursework, whether it occurs on the state's college campuses, through hybrid programs -- or through online colleges in Missouri.
Missouri education and achievement scores
The percentage of adults who graduated from high school was higher in Missouri than in the U.S. as a whole, according to U.S. Census data for 2009. Educational achievement varies by location: Statewide, the share of residents who held a bachelor's degree was about 25 percent, lower than the nationwide average rate of 27.5 percent. However, St. Louis County, which is part of the greater St. Louis metro area, outscored the U.S. average with 38.5 percent of adults holding a bachelor's degree or higher.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP tests showed that grade 8 reading and math achievement scores for the state were slightly higher than the national average for 2008-2009. However, dropout rates and literacy remain issues in the state, according to the Alliance for Excellence in Education, a policy and advocacy organization focused on at-risk students. Some private online high schools in Missouri claim to have higher graduation rates than those of public schools.