From December 7 to 12, 2016, Public Sector Consultants Inc. (PSC) conducted a telephone poll with 800 adult residents of Michigan to obtain their opinions about online learning opportunities for public school students in the state.
The poll included 480 landline and 320 cell phone respondents, and has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.5% at a 95% confidence level1. To control for potential bias, the sample was monitored carefully to ensure an adequate number of respondents in certain subgroups, particularly respondents aged 18 to 35. Poststratification weights were applied for gender, race, age, income, and educational attainment using American Community Survey estimates of Michigan’s population.
This survey is a follow-up to similar polls conducted by PSC in 2014 and 2015, and was designed to include common questions for comparison. This summary provides highlights of the 2016 survey, along with comparisons to 2014 and 2015 when appropriate. Taken together, public opinion has been consistent across all three survey years.
- Michigan adults consistently view online learning as important: A strong majority of respondents in 2014 (79%), 2015 (71%), and 2016 (80%) feel that it is somewhat or very important for middle-school and high-school students to have the option of enrolling in an online course at their local school district.
- There is a consistent lack of general knowledge about online learning: In each of the survey years, when presented with two factual statements about online learning in Michigan, one-third to one-half of respondents said they didn’t know if the statements were true or false.
- Online learning is here to stay: Across all three iterations of the survey, a strong majority of respondents feel that current Michigan students in grades 6th through 12th will take an online course before they graduate. At the same time, they feel it is even more likely that these students will take an online course after high school, either in college, at a vocational school, or in the workforce.
- Online learning is expected to grow: In both 2015 and 2016, respondents said they think slightly less than half of current Michigan K–12 students will enroll in an online course during the next year, with that estimate increasing to about two-thirds of students ten years from now.
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