Glossary of Terms

Online Courses

An "online course" means a course, or grade-level course work, in which:

  • More than half of the course content is delivered electronically using the internet or other computer-based methods.
  • More than half of the teaching is conducted from a remote location through an online course learning management system or other online or electronic tools.
  • A certificated teacher has the primary responsibility for the student's instructional interaction pertaining to the online course. Primary responsibility means the teacher is the principal individual who provides instructional interactions that may include, but are not limited to, direct instruction, review of assignments, assessment, testing, progress monitoring, and educational facilitation; and
  • Students have access to the teacher synchronously, asynchronously, or both.

For example, courses do not meet the definition of an "online course" when:

  • All instruction takes place in-person, but at least some of the content is delivered online
  • Some instruction is delivered online, and some content is delivered online, but both content and instruction are not more than half online.

(Note: A remote location is any location where there is no "face-to-face" student-teacher interaction.)

Online Course Provider

Definition

Online course providers offer individual "online courses" and have the following characteristics:

  • More than half of the course content is delivered electronically using the internet or other computer-based methods.
  • More than half of the teaching in the course is conducted from a remote location through an online course learning management system or other online or electronic tools.
  • A certificated teacher has the primary responsibility for the student's instructional interaction pertaining to the online course. Primary responsibility means the teacher is the principal individual who provides instructional interactions that may include, but are not limited to, direct instruction, review of assignments, assessment, testing, progress monitoring, and educational facilitation; and
  • Students have access to the teacher synchronously, asynchronously, or both.
  • Online course providers must supply all of the following: course content, access to a learning management system, and online teachers.
  • Online course providers offer individual online courses that are not delivered as an online school program.
  • Online courses can be delivered to students at school as part of the regularly scheduled school day.
  • Online courses can be delivered to students, in whole or in part, independently from a regular classroom schedule but must comply with the ALE rules in order to be claimed under ALE.

For information about Course Provider approval requirements, visit the Approval Process page.

Online School Programs

Definition

An online school program is defined as a school or program that offers a sequential set of online courses or grade-level course work that may be taken in a single school term or throughout the school year in a manner that could provide a full-time basic education program if so desired by the student. Students may enroll in the program as part-time or full-time students.

Online school programs may only be offered by an entity responsible for claiming state basic education funding, such as a school district or a charter school. Online school programs may include online courses purchased from approved online course providers, but the online school program may need to also be approved by OSPI.

For information about Online School Program approval requirements, visit the Approval Process page.

Resident and Non-Resident Districts

"Resident/home district" means the school district in which the student's residence is located. See WAC 392-137-120.

"Non-resident/serving district" means the district in which the student is enrolled or is seeking entrance and in which the student's residence is not located. See WAC 392-137-125.

Completion and passing rates

Completion rate is the percentage of total enrollments where the student did not drop or withdraw from the course and did receive a grade for the course. It is calculated based on the provider's Washington state enrollments for a given school year. If Washington-specific figures are not available, national statistics for the provider will be used.

Pass rate is the percentage of total completions where the student received a 70% or higher grade (A, B, C, or Pass) in a course. It is calculated based on the provider's Washington state enrollments for a given school year. If Washington-specific figures are not available, national statistics for the provider will be used.

Course success rate is the percentage of total online enrollments where the student received a grade for the course that was one of the following: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, P, CR, S. Courses marked as E, F, N, NC, U, or W are not considered successful outcomes.

Teacher-to-student ratio

Teacher-to-student ratio is the number of students per instructional staff member for a given school year. It is calculated using full-time equivalency measures for both students and staff:

  • Students: full-time is 1.0. If a student is less than full-time, divide the number of courses actually taken by the number of courses expected to be taken by a full-time student. For example, if a student took 3 courses, and a full-time load would be 5 per semester, the student is 3/5 = 0.6.
  • Staff: full-time is 1.0, or each course taught is 0.2. If a teacher's maximum load is different than 5 courses per term, adjust the per-course rate to 1.0 divided by the number of courses in order to calculate part-time teachers. Staff includes instructional staff only. Staff should not include support staff, librarians, counselors, or administrators.