Microsoft Canada Parents Survey

Many Parents Are Unable To Help Their Children With Their Homework, In Many Subject Areas, Educational Software A Possible Solution For Many

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Toronto, ON – According to a recent study conducted by Ipsos-Reid on behalf of High Road Communications and Microsoft Canada, three-in-ten (29%) Canadian parents of middle and high school aged students feel unprepared when helping their child/children with their homework.* And, parents cite lack of knowledge (51%) and lack of time (42%) as the biggest barriers they face when trying to help their child with homework.

According to parents, the subject their children struggle with most is Math (45% citing), followed by Literature (39% English and French combined) and Sciences (28%). The subjects that parents are least able to help their children with are French language (46% English and French combined) Math (37%), and Sciences (36%).

Three-quarters of parents (74%) agree that using a computer can help their children achieve greater academic success. Moreover, half (48%) say they would invest in educational software, which would help their child be more efficient with their homework. And, whom would they go to for recommendations when selecting the right educational tools for their children? Two-thirds (68%) say they would rely on teacher recommendations, 53% would rely upon their own experience and judgement, 40% would rely upon their child’s request, and 19% would rely on recommendations from a friend or relative.

Software appears to be a better solution than the Internet. Three-in-ten parents (31%) agree that Internet information, collected for homework, is often of questionable quality and one-quarter (26%) agrees that it takes too long to find factual information on the Internet, which is suitable for their child/children’s homework needs.

The survey also reveals that, 56% of parents say their children express frustration at the amount of homework they receive. That said, half (49%) say that the amount of homework their children have is “just enough”, 41% say they have “too little” and just 10% say they have “too much”. And how many hours might this be? Parents say that on average kids spend 4.8 hours per week on homework. Specifically, 24% of parents indicate that their children spend zero to 2 hours per week on homework, 41% of parents say they spend spends 3 to 5 hours on homework per week, 26% say they spend 5 to 10 hours per week, and 9% of parents indicate that their children spend over 10 hours per week on homework.

Finally, survey findings indicate that 44% of parents of middle or high school children are aware of their children using a “graphing calculator” either at home or at school.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos-Reid poll conducted on behalf of High Road Communications and Microsoft Canada between May 5th and May 10th, 2005. The poll is based on a randomly selected sample of 1306 adult Canadian parents with a personal computer or laptop set up for children to use when doing homework from the Ipsos-Reid Online Panel. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within 2.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population with children and a computer set up for children to use for homework been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample's regional composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data.

* All agree/disagree questions are based on a 10-point scale where 1 means “completely disagree” and 10 means “completely agree.” The percentage who scored 7, 8, 9, or 10 are reported as those who agree and, those who scored 1, 2, 3, or 4 are reported as those who disagree, and the rest as neutral.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
John Wright
Senior Vice-President


Ipsos-Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader and the country’s leading provider of public opinion research. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos-Reid employs more than 300 researcher professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in Canada, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and on-line panels. Ipsos-Reid’s Canadian marketing research and public affairs practices are staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, offering the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada—including the Ipsos Trend Report, the leading source of public opinion in the country—all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Ipsos-Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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Microsoft Canada Parents Survey


Elen Alexov
Director, Marketing Services,
North America