A COMPARISON OF  STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AND RETENTION IN AN INTRODUCTORY MATH COURSE DELIVERED IN ONLINE, FACE-TO-FACE  AND B...
Presented to the Teaching, Colleges and Community (TCC)  2007 Worldwide Conference: April 17 -19, 2007
Background of the Study <ul><li>Explosive growth of online learning (2 million students in 2003, increasing to 2.6 million...
Research Questions <ul><li>Research Question #1 : Is there a difference in student retention for an introductory math cour...
Research Questions, con’t. <ul><li>Research Question #3 : Is there a difference in student achievement, as measured by cou...
Setting and Context <ul><li>A large, regionally accredited private university (“Private U”)  </li></ul><ul><li>Undergradua...
Population and Sample <ul><li>A total of 79,545 students attempted to take Math 200 at Private U from January 2002 through...
Measures of Variables for the Study <ul><li>All necessary data were provided electronically by the registrar’s office in E...
Findings for Research Question #1: Are there differences in retention by instructional modality of delivery? <ul><li>Stude...
Findings for Research Question #2: Does gender make a significant difference in student retention in an introductory math ...
Findings for Research Question #2, con’t.: Does gender make a significant difference in student retention in an introducto...
Findings for Research Question #3.: Are there differences in student achievement (measured by course final grade) by instr...
Findings for Research Question #4: Does gender make a significant difference in student achievement (measured by course fi...
Findings for Research Question #4, con’t.: Does gender make a significant difference in student achievement (measured by c...
Discussion <ul><li>There appears to be a strong relationship between  instructional format  and  student retention </li></...
Discussion, con’t. <ul><li>With respect to final grades, the  academic achievement of students in the  traditional  classr...
Discussion, con’t. <ul><li>Gender  did  make a difference in student achievement in Math 200 but not in conjunction with i...
Critical Reflections <ul><li>Instructional modality  played a significant role in  both  retention  and  achievement (most...
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A Comparison of Student Achievement & Retention in an Introductory Math Course

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A Comparison of Student Achievement & Retention in an Introductory Math Course

  1. 1. A COMPARISON OF STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AND RETENTION IN AN INTRODUCTORY MATH COURSE DELIVERED IN ONLINE, FACE-TO-FACE AND BLENDED MODALITIES by Russell R. Paden, Ph.D. & Mary I. Dereshiwsky, Ph.D.
  2. 2. Presented to the Teaching, Colleges and Community (TCC) 2007 Worldwide Conference: April 17 -19, 2007
  3. 3. Background of the Study <ul><li>Explosive growth of online learning (2 million students in 2003, increasing to 2.6 million in 2004, according to Allen & Seaman, 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>Same source reports annual growth rates of 20 - 25% </li></ul><ul><li>Blended instructional models (combination of online and face-to-face) are also growing in popularity </li></ul><ul><li>Little data exist to support conclusions regarding impact on retention of online instruction, in whole or in part (blended) </li></ul><ul><li>Certain subject matter such as mathematics is challenging to teach entirely online </li></ul><ul><li>More studies are needed regarding impact of instructional modality on student achievement in math instruction </li></ul>
  4. 4. Research Questions <ul><li>Research Question #1 : Is there a difference in student retention for an introductory math course based on whether it is taught in an online, blended, or traditional format?’ </li></ul><ul><li>Research Question #2 : Does gender make a difference in student retention for an introductory math course based on whether it is taught in an online, blended, or traditional format? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Research Questions, con’t. <ul><li>Research Question #3 : Is there a difference in student achievement, as measured by course final grades, in an introductory math course based on whether it is taught in an online, blended or traditional format? </li></ul><ul><li>Research Question #4: Does gender make a difference in student achievement, as measured by course final grades, in an introductory math course based on whether it is taught in an online, blended or traditional format? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Setting and Context <ul><li>A large, regionally accredited private university (“Private U”) </li></ul><ul><li>Undergraduate mathematics course titled Math 200 </li></ul><ul><li>Offered in three modalities: online, blended and traditional face-to-face format </li></ul><ul><li>Standardized curriculum across all 3 modalities </li></ul><ul><li>Three-year time frame of study: 2004 through 2004 (no significant changes to curriculum, instructional models or instructor training during this time) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Population and Sample <ul><li>A total of 79,545 students attempted to take Math 200 at Private U from January 2002 through December 2004. Of these students: </li></ul><ul><li>-- 38,056 attempted the course in an online format, </li></ul><ul><li>--1,310 attempted the course in a blended format, </li></ul><ul><li>--40,179 attempted the course in a traditional or face-to-face format </li></ul>
  8. 8. Measures of Variables for the Study <ul><li>All necessary data were provided electronically by the registrar’s office in Excel spreadsheet documents </li></ul><ul><li>The first document included assigned student identification numbers with an associated grade for the course in the form of a numeric quality score (e.g., a grade of “A” equals 4.00, “A-” equals 3.66, “B+” equals 3.33, etc.). </li></ul><ul><li>The second document included student identification numbers with an associated field indicating whether the student completed or dropped the course . Based on this information, the student was identified as retained or not retained . </li></ul><ul><li>Both documents included each student’s associated with the student’s identification number. gender </li></ul>
  9. 9. Findings for Research Question #1: Are there differences in retention by instructional modality of delivery? <ul><li>Students in traditional courses had the highest retention rate at 91.9% </li></ul><ul><li>Students in online courses had the lowest retention rate at 85.6% </li></ul><ul><li>Students in the blended courses fell in the middle , with a retention rate of 88.2% </li></ul><ul><li>These differences in retention rate are statistically significant ( χ 2 (2, N = 79, 545) = 796.63, p < .05) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Findings for Research Question #2: Does gender make a significant difference in student retention in an introductory math course depending on whether it is taught in an online, blended, or traditional format? <ul><li>There was a slight difference in the percentages of retained students by gender across all modalities pooled together (89.1% of male students were retained, and 88.7% female students were retained) </li></ul><ul><li>This difference was not statistically significant χ 2 (2, N = 79, 545) = 2.47, < critical value of chi square of 3.841 </li></ul><ul><li>For only the online instruction there was a small difference in the percentage of retained students by gender (86.0% of males and 85.3% of females were retained) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Findings for Research Question #2, con’t.: Does gender make a significant difference in student retention in an introductory math course depending on whether it is taught in an online, blended, or traditional format? <ul><li>The difference in retention by gender in the online format was marginally significant χ 2 (1, N = 38,056) = 3.846, p < .05 </li></ul><ul><li>For only the blended instruction , 86.0% of males and 89.8% of females were retained </li></ul><ul><li>The difference in retention by gender in the blended format was statistically significant χ 2 (1, N = 1310) = 4.46, p < .05 </li></ul><ul><li>For only the traditional format, 92.2% of males and 91.8% of females were retained </li></ul><ul><li>This difference was not statistically significant χ 2 (2, N = 40,179) = 2.47, < critical value of chi square of 3.841 </li></ul>
  12. 12. Findings for Research Question #3.: Are there differences in student achievement (measured by course final grade) by instructional modality of delivery? <ul><li>Traditional instruction had the highest average grade (3.028) </li></ul><ul><li>Online instruction had the lowest average grade (2.967) </li></ul><ul><li>Once again, blended instruction fell in the middle (3.017) </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that this difference in average grade by instructional modality was statistically significant (F=30.321; p < .0001) </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up testing revealed that: </li></ul><ul><li>--there were no statistically significant differences between online and blended courses or blended and traditional courses ; but: </li></ul><ul><li>--there was a statistically significant difference in academic achievement when online and traditional instruction were compared </li></ul>
  13. 13. Findings for Research Question #4: Does gender make a significant difference in student achievement (measured by course final grade) depending on whether it is taught in an online, blended, or traditional format? <ul><li>There was a slight difference in the mean grade by gender across all modalities pooled together (mean grade of 3.022 for men and 2.951 for women) </li></ul><ul><li>This difference was statistically significant ( F [1, 79,543] = 17.70, p < .0001) </li></ul><ul><li>For only the online instruction there was also a slight difference in the mean grade by gender (mean grade of 3.048 for men and 2.915 for women) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Findings for Research Question #4, con’t.: Does gender make a significant difference in student achievement (measured by course final grade) depending on whether it is taught in an online, blended, or traditional format? <ul><li>For only the blended instruction , there was also only a slight difference in average grade by gender (males: 3.022; females: 3.01) </li></ul><ul><li>For only the traditional instruction , there was also only a slight difference in average grade by gender (males: 3.108; females; 2.980) </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of variance revealed that the interaction of gender and modality of instruction (only online, blended, and traditional one at a time instead of pooled) was not statistically significant (F=1.972; p = 0.1392) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Discussion <ul><li>There appears to be a strong relationship between instructional format and student retention </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional instruction produces higher retention rates than either online or blended formats </li></ul><ul><li>A greater percentage of men retained in the online and traditional models as compared to women in the same models </li></ul><ul><li>Somewhat surprisingly, women retained at a significantly higher percentage rate than men only in the blended model </li></ul><ul><li>No clear explanation (other than much smaller sample size) for why a blending of those models produced a superior retention rate among women </li></ul><ul><li>The current study is more in line with York’s 2003 finding that women retain better in face-to-face courses than in online courses </li></ul>
  16. 16. Discussion, con’t. <ul><li>With respect to final grades, the academic achievement of students in the traditional classroom was superior to that of the students in the online format </li></ul><ul><li>This finding contradicts results of other studies that online instruction is at least equal and possibly superior to traditional instruction </li></ul><ul><li>Also contradicts studies about courses in fields outside of mathematics that found no significant difference between scores in online and traditional courses </li></ul><ul><li>There may be some subject areas , such as mathematics, in which students will not perform as well in an online environment </li></ul><ul><li>Adding a face-to-face component to an online mathematics course may mitigate any potential shortcomings in academic achievement </li></ul>
  17. 17. Discussion, con’t. <ul><li>Gender did make a difference in student achievement in Math 200 but not in conjunction with instructional format ( only across all modalities pooled) </li></ul><ul><li>Interestingly, although the blended modality produced the highest academic achievement for women , it produced the lowest academic achievement for men </li></ul><ul><li>Blended instruction was the only modality in which the retention of women exceeded that of men </li></ul>
  18. 18. Critical Reflections <ul><li>Instructional modality played a significant role in both retention and achievement (most pronounced for the blended format which is a combination of online and traditional) </li></ul><ul><li>Gender had no significant role in the interactive effect between achievement and instructional modality </li></ul><ul><li>This study stands in contrast to the advocates of the “no significant difference” phenomenon </li></ul><ul><li>The subject matter of a course may play a more significant role in the success of students in alternative instructional formats than some are willing to acknowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Some content areas may be more challenging for some students, and require better academic support for both students and faculty , to achieve equivalent academic outcomes in an online format </li></ul>

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