Washington State Superintendents and K-12 Online Learning: Leadership Perceptions, Challenges & Opportunities
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to examine the perceptions, interpretations, and reactions of K-12 superintendents in Washington in response to the rapid growth of K-12 online learning. A survey instrument with 43 Likert-type items and five open-ended items was sent electronically to all superintendents in Washington during the 2010-11 school year. The representative sample consisted of 201 superintendents in Washington State, which represents 71% of those invited to participate.A Pearson's product-moment correlation coefficient was computed to assess the relationship between each of five subscales (Fiscal Advantage, Instructional Options, 21st Century Skills, Learner-Centered Environment and Alternate Learning Environment) and district factors (District Size, Superintendent's Number of Years of Experience and Online Learning Status). Themes surfaced from the open-ended survey items using the constant comparative method of analysis. The results were organized into four areas to address the research questions concerning issues, purposes, recommendations and demographic impacts on perception.The findings suggest that Superintendents agree that online learning is not for all students; instead they recommended blended learning as an option, combining traditional face-to-face with online instruction. The issues that emerged focused on financial impacts, quality concerns, and the lack of regulation. Superintendents identified the key purposes of K-12 online learning to be scheduling flexibility, expanding options and individualization. Superintendent perception was most strongly associated with degree of participation in online learning, that is, superintendents in districts that currently provide online learning were more likely to promote the benefits of online learning.