Document Type

Honors Project - Open Access


This paper examines the impact of nontraditional learning modes, such as online education, on high school graduation and dropout rates during the 2020-2021 Covid-19 school year. Using school-level data from the Illinois Report Card for 2012-2021, a difference-in-differences framework is used to estimate the average treatment effect of two groups: schools that used virtual learning modes for only part of the year and those that used it for nearly the entire year. The study reveals that virtual learning had a negligible effect on four-year graduation rates. However, schools that used virtual learning for only part of the year witnessed a decrease in dropout rates by 0.5%, while those that used it for the entire year experienced a 1% reduction. These results suggest that virtual education and non-traditional learning modes provide greater accessibility to students, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, but may be less efficient than traditional in-person schooling. Overall, the study offers insights into the effects of virtual learning modes and highlights the need for further research in this area.

Included in

Economics Commons


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