Monday, August 22, 2016

92% benefit academically, according to K12

The press releases sent out by K12 look impressive: 92% of parents in Utah Virtual Academies agree they benefited academically

It is even conducted by Edge Research, so it must be impressive. I mean, 92% is an overwhelming percentage in agreement. And, we all want kids to 'benefit academically.'

Take a closer look at the survey and the results begin to unravel. Let's look at the details:

1. 92% is actually based on the number of parents who responded to the survey, and not an overall percentage of families. That means the survey was conducted as a response survey. This typically means you will receive biased results because it is not representative of the overall population but rather dependent upon the response of the participants of their own volition.

2. According to the survey, to achieve a 100% response rate, the UTVA survey should have received 1,510 responses -- that is how many parents there are in the UTVA database of families.

3. How many responded? 1,000? 800? 500? -- actually, only 142 parents responded -- that equates to a 9% response rate. You read that correctly, only 9% of the potential population base responded.

4. A more accurate assessment would be 92% of the 9% of parents who responded agreed their children benefited academically from the curriculum (130 of the 142). 91% of parents in UTVA did not respond to the survey.

5. This means the headline of the press release is, at best, inaccurate. At worst, well, I will leave that one alone.

What does this mean overall? K12 is working hard to write a story, and they hope you only read the headlines.

It's time to stop blurring the truth. It's time to spend less time on press releases, and more time on crafting a story worth writing that leads to one worth sharing.

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