Evaluating online advanced courses

By Jillian Marshall

June 12, 2014 Updated Jun 12, 2014 at 6:27 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A new way of learning advanced courses is put to the test by Binghamton University and the state.

The Virtual AP, or VAP, Conference kicked off Thursday morning at BU.

Virtual AP is a blended or online program recently implemented in 17 school districts across the state. These districts do not have enough students or classrooms for AP courses.

The districts have been splitting money from a state-wide grant given by the U.S. Department of Education as a part of Race to the Top, a national program that encourages innovation and reform in education.

Most districts have been using the virtual program for at least half of the last school year. The conference at BU was held to bring together teachers and administrators who have implemented the program to talk about the positives, negatives and any questions.

New York granted $423,477 to The Virtual Advanced Placement Evaluation Project to explore the best ways to implement the program.

The Virtual Advanced Placement Research Team is made up of faculty and researchers from Binghamton University's Graduate School of Education.

The team is putting on the conference as a beginning step of its research.

"One of the things that we're very interested in is the notion, the idea that, especially in rural areas, is this a way to provide AP courses to students who would not have the opportunity? And that's a very positive thing," said principal investigator of the team Pamela Sandoval.

Sandoval said the study will go on for at least five more years.