Policy & Standards

iNACOL Publishes Standards for K-12 Online Programs

The K-12 research and advocacy association iNACOL has published the first-ever standards for K-12 online education programs, National Standards for Quality Online Programs.

The publication is designed to serve as a resource for state and local policymakers and education leaders, providing guidelines on content, evaluation, instruction, leadership, and support services. iNACOL, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, has previously published two other sets of standards related to online learning: National Standards of Quality for Online Courses (PDF) and National Standards for Quality Online Teaching (PDF).

The third publication focuses more broadly on what it takes to implement quality online education programs, from course design to evaluation, and is designed to serve as an "over-arching set of standards program leaders need to assure a quality online program," addressing foundational aspects of online programs.

“Our overall goal is to ensure that every student has access to the highest quality education available today," said Susan Patrick, president and CEO of iNACOL, in a statement released to coincide with the publication of the standards. "This is the first publication of K-12 online learning program quality standards to help evaluate and ensure effective oversight. Online program quality standards will help underscore how important effective management, administration, quality content and instruction, student and faculty support, and academic rigor are for K-12 online education."

The latest publication provides a checklist of considerations for online programs in 26 broad categories, such as mission statement, instruction, assessment of student performance, curriculum, and many others. There are 110 individual standards provided in the document.

Further information about the National Standards for Quality Online Programs publication and the prior two publications can be found here. A Webinar on the new standards will be held Oct. 14. Further information about the Webinar can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .