Q:

How do you research the standards of free online school programs?

A:

Quick Answer

Reputable schools generally list their accreditations publicly, so begin your research into their standards by checking with the accrediting bodies to find out their policies and standards. Ask several schools for information about their curricula and standards, then compare the schools.

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How do you research the standards of free online school programs?
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Full Answer

When you check a school's accreditation, make sure the accrediting body itself is trustworthy. There are some accrediting bodies that have low standards or do not exist, according to U.S. News and World Report. You can check the United States Department of Education's database of recognized accrediting bodies and schools to make sure it is a legitimate organization. The Department of Education recommends using other sources in addition to the database to judge a school's quality.

Trustworthy schools should be willing to provide detailed information about their policies to help you in your research. Ask them about their graduation rates. If you are looking for a high school program, ask how many of their students went on to college. Make sure any credits or degrees are accepted by other schools, too. If credits are not transferable, it may be a sign that the school has low standards.

When you speak to the school, ask about support services for students and financial aid. Schools that offer little or no support may not be as reputable or may be trying to conceal information.

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