2014 in Review: Highlights of the Latest K-12 Market Research
12 January 2015
→ MDR’s EdNET Insight Team
EdNET Insight members have access to a plethora of services and resources such as industry reports, unbiased and actionable information, custom research and consulting services, online roundtables, and more. This time, however, you do not have to be a member to review key data points from the K-12 market. To kick off the New Year, we have gathered trends you need to know about to be successful in developing products for, and marketing and selling to, the K-12 market in this SoundBites feature.
EdNET Insight is the K-12 education industry’s leading information and consulting service, combining the proven power of research and analysis with recognized industry experts to deliver an insightful, comprehensive view of the trends and influences that are shaping the education market today – and tomorrow. The subscription services’ anchor report, the State of the K-12 Market, is published annually and is based on two large-scale surveys of education decision-makers; it provides the industry’s only comprehensive view of the K-12 market and the trends impacting it.
While external forces continue to buffet the K-12 marketplace, American schools are focused on improving teaching and learning for all students. Research shows that districts are relying ever more heavily on digital resources; expanding students’ access to those resources by increased purchases of mobile devices, implementation of BYOD, and one-to-one computing programs; and experimenting with new instructional models.
The report also confirms that budget woes are receding, with 2014-2015 technology budgets showing particular strength; that the Common Core Standards continue to drive the market as schools seek out instructional materials aligned with standards and prepare for the online administration of the new Common Core assessments; and that districts are actively seeking solutions that support personalized learning.
Technology Budgets Come on Strong
Schools are more optimistic about their technology budgets than they have been in five years. Nearly 90% of all districts expect their 2014-2015 technology budgets in all four areas—hardware, software, teacher training, and technical support—will stay the same or increase. Hardware/device purchases and infrastructure concerns—capacity, bandwidth, and wireless networks—top the list of 2014-2015 district technology priorities, which in turn heavily influence purchasing decisions.
Districts Move Forward on the One-to-One Computing Front
Fueled by growing interest in mobile computing, the rapid adoption of tablets, implementation of BYOD programs, and an increased emphasis on personalization of learning, nearly half (44%) of all districts now report that 1:1 computing is substantially implemented in their high schools, followed by more than a third (36%) of districts with substantial 1:1 implementations in middle schools and 20% in elementary schools.
Schools Are No Strangers to Online Assessment
A third of districts already administer the majority of their student assessments in core content areas online, with an additional 25% expecting to reach that measure within the 2014-2015 school year.
Districts’ current experience with online assessment certainly underpins their overall readiness to administer the new Common Core assessments online. The majority (56%) of districts report that they are substantially ready today to implement the new assessments, up from 43% in 2013.
Flipping, Blending, and Personalizing – Experimentation Abounds
With greater access to digital resources, an improving technology infrastructure, and growing interest in personalizing learning, educators are trying a variety of new instructional models, all in the interest of getting students more deeply involved in learning.
63% of districts say that at least some of the high school classrooms in their districts have implemented flipped learning. 60% report some usage of the flex blended learning model in which students take all or at least a majority of their courses online and teachers or paraprofessionals provide face-to-face support on an as-needed basis.
Support of personalized learning is rated as the most important consideration when districts decide what digital instructional materials to purchase.
Standards Continue to Drive the Instructional Materials Market
Despite the swirling controversy that has surrounded the Common Core State Standard (CCSS) this past year, 43 states remain committed to their implementation. And states that have never adopted or that have recently rejected the Common Core are creating and implementing locally developed college- and career-ready standards. Up slightly from 68% last year, more than 70% of districts plan to obtain instructional materials for CCSS implementation by purchasing new materials.
Instructional Materials Making a Comeback
After years of cutting back, districts are planning to purchase instructional resources in the core subject areas of math, English language arts, science, and social studies, driven in part by improved instructional budgets. One out of four districts expects their 2014-2015 instructional budgets to increase, up from 16% the prior year.
Math purchases will top districts’ lists in 2014-2015 and will be especially strong among middle schools, with 43% of districts planning to purchase middle school products, 36% purchasing elementary math materials, and 33% buying math instructional materials for high schools. Purchases of English language arts instructional materials are almost as high at all grade levels, respectively, as what was expected for math.
These highlights represent a sampling of the insights available in the full State of the K-12 Market 2014 report. To learn more about the report and how it can help inform your business plans and go-to-market strategy, visit EdNET Insight. To learn more about becoming an EdNET Insight subscriber, call 800-333-8802.