Executive Summary

In 2007, the Sloan Consortium issued a report on the extent and nature of online learning in K-12 schools. Entitled, K-12 Online Learning: A Survey of U.S. School District Administrators, this report was welcomed by professional organizations and the popular media interested in the use of online technology for instruction in the public schools. It was based on a national survey of school district administrators during the 2005-2006 academic year. It was one of the first studies to collect data on and compare fully online and blended learning (part online and part traditional face-to-face instruction) in K-12 schools. The purpose of this current study is to replicate the original study in order to substantiate its findings and to examine what if any changes occurred in online learning in K-12 school districts. The current study was conducted two years later and was based on a national survey of school district administrators during the 2007-2008 academic year.


1. Three quarters of the responding public school districts are offering online or blended courses:

  • 75% had one or more students enrolled in a fully online or blended course.
  • 70% had one or more students enrolled in a fully online course.
  • 41% had one or more students enrolled in a blended course
  • These percentages represent an increase of approximately 10% since 2005-2006.

2. 66% of school districts with students enrolled in online or blended courses anticipate their online enrollments will grow.

3. The overall number of K-12 students engaged in online courses in 2007-2008, is estimated at 1,030,000. This represents a 47% increase since 2005-2006.

4. Respondents report that online learning is meeting the specific needs of a range of students, from those who need extra help and credit recovery to those who want to take Advanced Placement and college-level courses.

5. School districts typically depend on multiple online learning providers, including postsecondary institutions, state virtual schools and independent providers as well as developing and providing their own online courses.

6. Perhaps the voices heard most clearly in this survey were those of respondents representing small rural school districts. For them, the availability of online learning is a lifeline and enables them to provide students with course choices and in some cases, the basic courses that should be part of every curriculum.