Predicting Success of Virtual High School Students: Preliminary results from an educational success prediction instrument

Marshall Roblyer
Jon Marshall


Results are reported an a preliminary use of the Educational Success Prediction Instrument (ESPRI), a measure designed to discriminate between successful and unsuccessful students in virtual high school (VHS) courses and provide a basis for counseling and support for future VHS students to make them more effective online learners. When used with 135 students in 13 virtual high schools, the instrument was found to discriminate with high accuracy and reliability between groups of successful and unsuccessful students. Suggestions are given for how ESPRI results might be used to help VHS students, and recommendations are discussed for further research in this area.



Through analysis and discussions, nine constructs thought to be related to successful behavior in VHS courses were identified:

* locus of control

* internal versus external motivation

* self-confidence/self-esteem

* responsibility

* degree of experimentation (risk taking)

* time management

* ability to set goals

* achievement motivation

* self-reported computer/technology skills

research questions:

1. Can this instrument discriminate reliably between successful and unsuccessful students in VHS courses?

2. Do any factors (e.g., locus of control, self-esteem) or student characteristics that can be changed through counseling (e.g., technology skills/access, age or grade in school, hours spent in outside commitments) correlate with student success in online courses?

3. Can findings from this instrument yield a model for predicting success of high school students in distance environments?
The results of this initial usage of ESPRI indicate that it could be a reliable measure for predicting success of high school students in distance environments, and that there are constructs that could serve as the foundation of a theoretical framework for future uses of ESPRI.

APA Citation

Roblyer, M. D., & Marshall, J. C. (2002). Predicting success of virtual high school students: Preliminary results from an educational success prediction instrument. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 35(2), 241-255.

About the Study

Links to Article
Mode Online
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Journal of Research on Technology in Education
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design Survey research (qualitative or quantitative)
Intervention/Areas of Study
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined Age groups
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest Academic achievement or performance, including assessment scores and course grades
Student Sample Size 100-199
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