Student Attitudes about Online School Accentuate the Positive
As every parent knows, most students love to complain about school. “It’s boring”; “My teacher hates me”; “There’s too much homework”—the list could be endless. If this sounds familiar, you may be surprised to learn that a recent survey of students who attend Connections Academy®—supported schools revealed positive attitudes about many aspects of online learning.
Shh, don’t tell their parents, but 90% of students in grades 6–12 told us that they are satisfied with their local Connections Academy school. When asked to grade their school, 82% reported that they would give their school an A or a B.
All enrolled students received an invitation via the school’s secure WebMail system to take the nationwide survey. More than 10,000 students decided to participate. A third-party vendor ran the survey in spring of 2016, keeping student responses anonymous. Because elementary school students were given a simplified survey with fewer questions, most of the results shared here are from students in grades 6–12.
Eighty-three percent of students in grades K–12 also said that they are more satisfied with Connections Academy than with their previous school. For 70% of participating students, that previous school was their local public school. Another 10% had been homeschooled, and the remainder attended a private, charter, or magnet school, or another virtual school.
Students are also pleased with how well they are learning, with 87% of high schoolers and 85% of middle schoolers agreeing that they are making good progress. They also told us their attitudes toward learning have improved since enrolling at Connections Academy.
The friendly, knowledgeable teachers students work with must contribute to this success, because 94% of students in grades 6–12 were satisfied with the helpfulness of their teachers. As one student replied, “I like that most of the teachers are much more helpful than the teachers in the public schools I’ve been to in the past.”
In the comments section of the survey, students expanded on this question with replies such as, “Well, I love how easy it is to contact your teachers! The education is great, and the amount of resources… makes it fun and simple to learn!” and “[I like that] you can communicate with your teachers to get the help that you need.”
A less-stressful learning experience
Both age groups identified various aspects of having a more flexible schedule as the most important benefit of attending a Connections Academy online school. “I really like the freedom to adjust my schedule to fit my lifestyle. I am able to go on outings with my mom and then come home and do a bit of school,” one student said. Another appreciated this: “I can plan my day around me and not sit in school all day.”
Students also appreciate being able to work at a learning pace that suits them, ranking this benefit as important to them. One student commented, “I can go at my own pace. I am not pressured into completing assignments quickly, and if I have the time I can jump ahead.” Avoiding negative peer pressure was also ranked highly by both groups.
When asked to comment on what they like about the school and what they would change, a surprising number of students replied with some variation of “I wouldn’t change anything!” Of course, there were some of the typical complaints about “too much work,” but students also gave us many good suggestions for continuing to improve our courses, learning tools, and online resources. Students also shared personal insights in many thoughtful responses:
“I like how I’m being challenged and am actually learning, especially in math. So thank you Connections Academy for that.”
“I am not getting picked on by other kids.”
“I like how organized [the program is].”
“I like the ability to be able to do my studies no matter where I am … at any time.”
“I like being able to do my schoolwork on my own time. I’m not rushed, and I get the help I need.”
And, because our goal is to inspire kids to enjoy learning now and throughout their lives, we were thrilled to read responses like this one: “I actually get excited about my classes unlike any other school I have been to.” What better proof can there be that personalized online learning can make a difference?
If you’re interested in helping your student improve his or her attitude toward learning, it’s not too late to enroll. Visit www.ConnectionsAcademy.com to learn more about virtual school for students in grades K–12.
How has online learning made a difference in your student’s life and learning? Share your comments below.