Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report, 2010-11 to 2012-13

Published on February 4, 2014

Modified on December 11, 2020

Written By: 

Joseph R. FreidhoffMichigan Virtual


Kristen DeBrulerMichigan Virtual


Kathryn KennedyMichigan Virtual


Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report 2010-11 to 2012-13Based on pupil completion and performance data reported by school entities to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) or the Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI), this report highlights enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact of virtual courses on K-12 pupils. Through this report, the authors sought to 1) expose and explore the variability that exists in the use of and performance in virtual courses and 2) develop a more nuanced understanding of K-12 virtual learning in the state of Michigan. Statistics shared in the report must be interpreted with care due to concerns about the accuracy of data reported to the state about virtual enrollments during the first three years of its collection. Findings include an apparent growth in the number of students and schools participating in virtual courses, with the majority of virtual enrollments coming in the core subject areas. Students taking virtual courses in a supplemental capacity appear to be more successful when they take only a few virtual enrollments a year. Developing practices to better support students who take higher amounts of virtual enrollments should be a priority.

Download the Report

Prepared By
  • Joseph R. Freidhoff – Michigan Virtual
  • Kristen DeBruler – Michigan Virtual
  • Kathryn Kennedy – Michigan Virtual
What we already know about this topic
  • K-12 virtual learning has been rapidly growing throughout the U.S.
  • Past studies have tried to address the question of whether virtual learning is as effective as face-to-face learning. Researchers are now calling for understanding more deeply under what conditions virtual learning is most effective.
What this report adds
  • This report represents the first statewide analysis of K-12 virtual learning using data reported by Michigan public schools to the state.
  • It establishes important statistics that convey essential information in understanding virtual learning in Michigan.
Implications for practice and/or policy
  • The report shows both the successes and failures of virtual learning in the state. The data presented in the report identify areas to build upon as well as practices that should be avoided.
  • The data in the report provide school districts with the opportunity to benchmark their own virtual learning programs against their peers in the state. This opportunity should be an important step in a program’s continuous quality improvement activities.
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Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.