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What Students Experience

In a Personalized Learning Public Charter School

In May of 2016, the APLUS+ Personalized Learning Network Association conducted a network-wide survey of its member school students to discover more deeply the experiences of students who are enrolled in a Personalized Learning Public Charter School model and environment. Below is a summary of those survey results, along with numerous voluntary comments from student respondents that were offered in strong, passionate, and enthusiastic support of the Personalized Learning model and Personalized Learning Public Charter Schools. (Key survey results and optional, voluntary comments derived from more than 400 student respondents from the most recent APLUS+ Personalized Learning Network Survey conducted 5/16)

Key Survey Questions and Results

What would you say were the main reasons that you left your previous school?

Here are the 10 top reasons chosen by the highest percentage of students (from highest percentage down in parentheses):

  • School lacked individualized attention and service (40%)
  • School lacked a flexible learning schedule (32.4%)
  • Other Reasons (24.4%) *
  • I experienced bullying and/or intimidation by other students (23.9%)
  • I fell behind in subjects, credits or grade level (23.9%)
  • I needed a change of scenery (23.3%)
  • Teachers did not get to know and respect me (20.2%)
  • School had classrooms that were too crowded (18.2%)
  • I lost hope and trust in the school system (17.6%)
  • School had an unsafe learning environment (17.1%)

Other reasons included:

  • Public school was stressing me out, and I was missing a lot of days for doctor appointments for my medical problems
  • Needed more time to complete assignments
  • I wanted to stay home and learn with my family
  • I didn’t feel like I could learn in the public school environment
  • We moved to a different location
  • Annoyed by other students and felt I needed control of my own learning schedule
  • I tried to commit suicide because of how the entire school treated me.
  • Bad influences
  • My sister and friends had attended the school and recommended it.
  • My parents chose it for me

Key takeaway: For numerous fundamental reasons, a traditional education delivery model was not a good match for success for students who chose a Personalized Learning Public Charter School model.

What would you say are the main reasons that you enrolled in our Personalized Learning public charter school?

Here are the 10 top reasons chosen by the highest percentage of students (from highest percentage down in parentheses):

  • Flexible learning schedule that allows time to do other things I value (58.0%)
  • Freedom to learn outside of a classroom, online and/or at home (53.9%)
  • Word of mouth recommendation from someone I knew (48.1%)
  • Teachers value and guide each individual (46.1%)
  • Flexible pace of learning in which I can master concepts or catch up on my work (42.3%)
  • More choices in learning programs and activities (37.6%)
  • Flexible pace of learning in which I can accelerate beyond the pace of the classroom (36.7%)
  • I believe that it provides a safer, more secure learning environment (32.6%)
  • This school meets my special needs, interests or circumstances better than my previous school (26.2%)
  • Parents and students are active partners in designing a personalized learning program (21.0%)

Key takeaway: Students choose a Personalized Learning Public Charter School model for fundamental reasons having to do with the uniqueness and distinction of the model itself, including freedom, flexibility, trust, choices, relationships with teachers, safer and more secure learning environments, and parent and student involvement in the learning process.

How satisfied are you with your Personalized Learning public charter school program?

Here are the results from students (from highest percentage down in parentheses):

  • Extremely satisfied (38.1%)
  • Very satisfied (30.1%)
  • Satisfied (20.7%)
  • Neither satisfied or dissatisfied (8.0%)
  • Unsatisfied (1.1%)
  • Very dissatisfied (0.0%)
  • Extremely dissatisfied (1.1%)

Key takeaway: The overwhelming majority (88.9%) of student respondents who choose a Personalized Learning Public Charter School model are satisfied or better with the educational program they are being provided. (See the next question for the main reasons why!)

What would you say are the main reasons you are satisfied with your Personalized Learning public charter school program?

Here are the 10 top reasons chosen by the highest percentage of students (from highest percentage down in parentheses):

  • My schedule is flexible and allows me to do other things I value (73.3%)
  • I have the freedom to learn outside the classroom, online and/or at home (70.1%)
  • The Personalized Learning plan allows flexibility (how, what, when and where I learn) (63.7%)
  • Teachers give me more one-on-one attention (57.6%)
  • Teachers value me and guide my learning (57.0%)
  • I can catch up on my work and succeed (57.0%)
  • There are more choices in learning programs and activities (49.4%)
  • It provides a safer and more secure learning environment (44.0%)
  • I may accelerate beyond the pace of the classroom (41.1%)
  • My special needs, interests, or circumstances are met better than my previous school (25.8%)

Key takeaway: Students are consistent in stating their reasons for their high level of satisfaction relative to why they choose a Personalized Learning Public Charter School model for fundamental reasons having to do with the uniqueness and distinction of the model itself, including freedom, flexibility, trust, choices, relationships with teachers, safer and more secure learning environments, and parent and student involvement in the learning process.

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How likely will you be willing to defend your Personalized Learning public charter school if others tried to limit its ability to serve students or tried to shut it down outright?

Here are the results from students (from highest percentage down in parentheses):

  • Extremely likely (48.2%)
  • Very likely (21.9%)
  • Likely (19.4%)
  • Neither likely or unlikely (7.7%)
  • Unlikely (1.1%)
  • Very unlikely (0.3%)
  • Extremely unlikely (1.4%)

Key takeaway: As with their level of satisfaction with their Personalized Learning Public Charter Schools, the overwhelming majority (89.5%) of student respondents who choose a Personalized Learning Public Charter School model would stand up for their school if threatened.

Would you recommend your Personalized Learning public charter school to others?

Here are the results from students (from highest percentage down in parentheses):

  • Yes (96.3%)
  • No (3.7%)

How enthusiastically would you recommend your Personalized Learning public charter school to others?

Here are the results from students (from highest percentage down in parentheses):

  • Extremely Enthusiastically (41.4%)
  • Very Enthusiastically (34.8%)
  • Enthusiastically (23.8%)

Key takeaway: The overwhelming majority of student respondents who choose a Personalized Learning Public Charter School model would not only recommend their school to others, and additionally, the majority of those feeling very enthusiastic or better about their Personalized Learning Public Charter Schools.

Voluntary Comments and Testimonials

Here is a sampling of what students are saying about why they chose to enroll in a Personalized Learning Public Charter School:

“I felt like I could form my own opinions and not feel the pressure of society to conform to be a certain type of person. I could be me.”

“I’m a kid, my parents chose this for me.”

“I prefer to work on my homework by myself.”

“i enrolled here so i can be home mostly to take care of my sick mom.”

“Because my parents said it was best, and I trust my parents.”

“More one on one attention”

“My 13th counselor (my current one) recommended this school.”

“Allowed me to graduate early”

“Everyone, teachers and students are nicer, and because I am shy it allows me to feel more comfortable and able to express myself in class. Everyone is more patient and accepting.”

“I don’t get sick very often anymore.”

“I was sent here by my social worker and old counselor.”

“The teachers are very nice and respect me unlike my previous teachers.”