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Report Majority Support Idea of Credit for Online K12 Elective and AP Courses

Most people are in favor of allowing K-12 students to take elective and AP courses online for credit, particularly if those courses aren't available in a brick-and-mortar school, according to a new poll conducted on behalf of K12, a provider of online pre-K to grade 12 programs.

The survey found that while most people are aware of online education options for higher education, relatively few are aware of this option for K-12 education, even though they support the idea in principle.

Key findings of the online poll:

  • Sixteen percent of United States adults who responded said they are very or somewhat familiar with the availability of free public online education for elementary school students;
  • Eighteen percent said they are familiar with the option of free public online education for middle school students;
  • Twenty-seven percent said they are aware of free public online education for high school students;
  • Sixty-four percent told researchers they know about online education options for college;
  • Eighty-four percent said they are open to the idea of students taking elective classes online and having them count toward graduation credit;
  • Eighty-seven percent told surveyers they agree with allowing students to take AP classes online for credit if they aren't offered at the student's existing school;
  • Ninety percent said they think teachers who use technology and engaging, interactive curriculum will thrive in the future; and
  • Eighty-five percent agree schools should be able to provide a mix of online and traditional classroom activities if optimal for learning.

K12, the company behind the survey, said it thinks the country is approaching a "tipping point" of awareness and demand for online public school options. According to the company, one of the major advantages of online education is that it can reach students in any geographic location.

"While still relatively new, there's no question online education options are on the front-end of a national 'tipping point,' as more parents and students realize one of the best-kept secrets in education is that you have more options than you may think when it comes to where and how you go to school," said Matt Arkin, the head of school at the K12-operated Georgia Cyber Academy, in a prepared statement. "We're working hard to transform the public education system for all of our students. The rigor and individualization of a high-quality and engaging online education can be a real winning combination for many students."

The poll was conducted online in the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of K12 from July 29 to 31, 2013 and surveyed 2,013 adults. According to the company, the "online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated."

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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