Virtual High School (VHS) is a leading private, online high school where students from around the world can take Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) credit courses. A range of 75 accredited courses is currently being offered to over 8500 students annually. VHS offers an alternative to the traditional high school model, with qualified teachers, cutting-edge tools and courseware available from anywhere in the world at any time. Their award-winning classes can be taken as a supplement to traditional schooling or as a full-time high school program.
One of the most important advantages VHS offers their students is flexibility. VHS courses are self-paced, and all VHS teachers are available to answer student questions via email within 24 hours.
However, VHS was looking for an additional way to provide students with academic assistance - particularly a tool to increase student engagement. With many students needing support outside class, it was important to ensure that all students could have access to quality help at any time. And since VHS is a virtual platform, the solution needed to be online-based.
“We have students working on courses from around the world, and at their own pace, so having a service that could accommodate this and built on what we offer students was essential. Having additional support available instantly was the main feature we were looking for, as it fits perfectly with our self-paced, on-demand courses.”
VHS Chooses To Partner With GradeSlam
Gradeslam provided the answer. - As one of the only online tutoring platforms that provides instant, 24/7 chat-based tutoring, VHS found GradeSlam’s model to be perfectly suited to their needs. Gradeslam was easy for students and educators to use, and the platform enabled teachers to better understand student needs by reviewing tutoring sessions and receiving helpful feedback about student performance.
Part of the initial partnership was to run a study that measures how GradeSlam impacts the engagement of VHS students using their learning environment. For VHS, like most online schools, student engagement is a challenge and tools that increase engagement increase retention, academic performance and graduation rates.
By integrating GradeSlam directly into their LMS learning environment, the hypothesis was that student engagement would increase as they would have additional confidence, that anytime they wanted to complete course work, someone would be there to support them.
It became quickly evident that the students with GradeSlam access were logging in more often. As the experiment ran throughout the semester, it was clear, GradeSlam was having a positive impact.
In the end, student engagement had increased by 23% over the peers without GS access! Not only were the students more engaged, they also saw a 100% course completion rate, including one student who had previously failed the course twice.
Following this experiment, VHS felt it absolutely necessary to provide each and every student with 24/7 access to GradeSlam.
VHS students have benefited enormously from the new service. Students have been excited to receive personalized help when and where they need it, and have enjoyed interacting with the tutors. In the words of one student, “If I do have any problems, I’ll be sure to come back [to Gradeslam]. At first I was wary about this online tutoring thing, but now I know it’s very reliable!”
"Integrating GradeSlam into our learning environment was quite simple in terms of training students and educators. The platform is very user friendly and intuitive, making it easy to introduce. The GradeSlam team is always very willing and available to assist us anytime we have questions.”
VHS teachers love GradeSlam, too. They are confident in the support provided by the tutors, and know that it lives up to VHS’ academic expectations. GradeSlam tutors provide teachers with personalized assessments of students’ learning progress.
The tutors use the methodologies learned in class, and guide students to successfully solve problems on their own without giving answers. Teachers have reported that, because of the help they get from GradeSlam, they now have more time for other tasks such as grading, issuing reports, and cultivating student skills like time management and goal-setting. They have also commented on how easy it is for students use the platform.
VHS has only been using GradeSlam for about six months, they have already begun to experience positive results, and have received good feedback from both students and teachers. VHS looks forward to a continuing partnership with GradeSlam and seeing the impact that this unique resource will have on student learning in the future.