Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report, 2015-16

Published on March 24, 2017
Based on pupil completion and performance data reported by schools to MDE or CEPI, this report highlights 2015-16 enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact of virtual courses on K-12 pupils.

Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report 2015-16Based on pupil completion and performance data reported by schools to MDE or CEPI, this report highlights 2015-16 enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact of virtual courses on K-12 pupils. Over 90,000 K-12 students took virtual courses in 2015-16, accounting for over 453,000 virtual course enrollments. Local Education Agency (LEA) schools provided 54% of all virtual enrollments with Public School Academy (PSA) schools adding another 44% of the virtual enrollments. Enrollments were heaviest in the high school grades. The pass rate for virtual courses was 58%; however, half of virtual learners passed every virtual course they took. One in four virtual learners, on the other hand, did not pass any of the virtual courses they took. Sixty-three percent of Michigan school districts reported having virtual enrollments. About 6% of all K-12 students in the state took a virtual course.

At-A-Glance Infographic Download the Report

Prepared By
  • Joseph R. Freidhoff – Michigan Virtual
What we already know about this topic
  • Previous years of the Effectiveness Report have shown increasing numbers of Michigan students taking virtual courses, more schools offering virtual learning, and a rapid increase in the number of virtual enrollments.
  • At the same time, the pass rate for virtual courses has been trending down.
  • Many schools have high pass rates and show evidence of successful programs — too many do not.
  • About half of students pass all of their virtual courses and about a quarter pass some of their virtual courses. There exists, however, a large number of students taking virtual courses — large numbers of virtual courses — without ever having success with them.
  • Students in poverty represent a disproportionate number of virtual enrollments and there is a sizable pass rate difference for virtual learners based on poverty status.
What this report adds
  • This report provides updates for the 2015-16 school year on the data presented in last year’s report. In addition, a few new analyses were conducted.
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.