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April 1, 2016
Vol. 73
No. 7

How Does EL Measure Up?

A report to readers about the 2015 Educational Leadership Readers Survey

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Anyone who reads these days knows that the magazine and newspaper world is changing, with more readers reading online, new devices and apps enticing us, and many different kinds of content grabbing our attention. So it's more important than ever for magazine and journal staffs to seek to know their readers well. This is particularly true of publications with a long history, a category to which EL certainly belongs as it heads into its 74th volume year next September.
Enter the 2015 Educational Leadership Readers Survey. Conducted by ASCD and Readex Research every three years, this survey asks a randomly selected group of ASCD members, representative of all positions and grade levels, to tell how much they read EL, whether it is meeting their interests and needs, what they value about it, and what they might like to see change.
Here's what we learned this year.

You are a diverse and influential group.

Just as you have been for many years, readers are principals, other administrators, teachers, professors, superintendents, and students. And this year, 7 percent of you identified as instructional coaches and another 3 percent as building-level specialists. The grade levels with which you work span preschool to university.
You are also influential in the selection of products for your school or district, with nearly 80 percent of EL readers involved in purchasing educational products or services.

You read EL regularly.

Seventy-three percent of readers read at least three of the past four issues, with 55 percent reading all four issues. More than three-quarters of you note that you read articles of interest, with an additional 12 percent telling us you read cover to cover.

A very high percentage of you read EL in print.

Although the number of print readers has decreased about 7 percent since 2012, 89 percent of you read EL in print, either in addition to digital or just in print. Just over half have read the digital or online edition, and 15 percent use the ASCD or EL mobile apps. Just under 10 percent read EL only in digital forms. Although a majority of you are aware of the online EL archive of all past articles, fewer of you know about the digital edition (the look-alike version with art as opposed to the text-only version on the Web). In addition, only 11 percent indicate that you know about the annual summer digital-only issue (coming up this June), which is a bonus issue e-mailed to members and some non-members and open to all readers.

You share your publication at a record rate print and online.

In fact, 58 percent of you share your issue with at least one other person, with 17 percent of you sharing with as many as five colleagues. This boosts the pass-along rate to an average of 3.6. That means the magazine has an effective reach of more than 575,000 educators.

You take action after reading EL.

Ninety-four percent of you indicated you had taken at least one action, with most of you (85 percent) mentioning having discussed an article with a colleague. You also mentioned saving articles, further researching a topic, and linking to an online source.

You believe EL has many strengths.

On a scale of 1–10, with 10 being highest, the mean scores for each of the survey's positive statements about EL ranged from a high of 9.1 to a low of 8.4. The strengths listed included providing up-to-date information, being a trustworthy source, being readable, being attractive, being relevant, and providing multiple viewpoints.

You rate EL higher than its competition.

More than 88 percent of you subscribe to at least one other education publication—ASCD SmartBrief, Education Week, Edutopia, and Phi Delta Kappan to name a few. More than three-quarters of you say that EL is at least somewhat better than other education publications, with 40 percent reporting that EL is much better than other publications that focus on education.

You like EL the way it is, but you also have ideas for new features.

When given a choice to describe a strength of EL in your own words, 84 percent complied, resulting in pages of compliments. Many also provided us with food for thought, giving us many good ideas to consider. There was no one overriding specific suggestion, however. Mentioned by 7 percent was a desire for more on a specified topic of interest. About 3 percent suggested an improvement in the digital offerings, and another 3 percent mentioned more international perspectives. Two percent believe EL should have more divergent viewpoints, be more research based, and list more resources.
Thank you, Readers, for your comments. Educational Leadership is a strong magazine because of its contributors and because of its readers. All of us on the EL staff are proud to be a part of bringing educators together to share thoughtful ideas about how to improve education for all.
Marge Scherer, Editor in Chief, Educational Leadership

This article was published anonymously, or the author name was removed in the process of digital storage.

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