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A Comparison of Student Achievement & Retention in an Introductory Math Course
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Powerpoint presentation for TCC 07 poster session: A Comparison of Student Achievement & Retention in an Introductory Math Course Delivered in Online, Face-to-Face and Blended Modalities

Powerpoint presentation for TCC 07 poster session: A Comparison of Student Achievement & Retention in an Introductory Math Course Delivered in Online, Face-to-Face and Blended Modalities

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

  • 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. Presented to the Teaching, Colleges and Community (TCC) 2007 Worldwide Conference: April 17 -19, 2007
  • 3. Background of the Study
    • Explosive growth of online learning (2 million students in 2003, increasing to 2.6 million in 2004, according to Allen & Seaman, 2004)
    • Same source reports annual growth rates of 20 - 25%
    • Blended instructional models (combination of online and face-to-face) are also growing in popularity
    • Little data exist to support conclusions regarding impact on retention of online instruction, in whole or in part (blended)
    • Certain subject matter such as mathematics is challenging to teach entirely online
    • More studies are needed regarding impact of instructional modality on student achievement in math instruction
  • 4. Research Questions
    • 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?’
    • 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?
  • 5. Research Questions, con’t.
    • 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?
    • 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?
  • 6. Setting and Context
    • A large, regionally accredited private university (“Private U”)
    • Undergraduate mathematics course titled Math 200
    • Offered in three modalities: online, blended and traditional face-to-face format
    • Standardized curriculum across all 3 modalities
    • Three-year time frame of study: 2004 through 2004 (no significant changes to curriculum, instructional models or instructor training during this time)
  • 7. Population and Sample
    • A total of 79,545 students attempted to take Math 200 at Private U from January 2002 through December 2004. Of these students:
    • -- 38,056 attempted the course in an online format,
    • --1,310 attempted the course in a blended format,
    • --40,179 attempted the course in a traditional or face-to-face format
  • 8. Measures of Variables for the Study
    • All necessary data were provided electronically by the registrar’s office in Excel spreadsheet documents
    • 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.).
    • 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 .
    • Both documents included each student’s associated with the student’s identification number. gender
  • 9. Findings for Research Question #1: Are there differences in retention by instructional modality of delivery?
    • Students in traditional courses had the highest retention rate at 91.9%
    • Students in online courses had the lowest retention rate at 85.6%
    • Students in the blended courses fell in the middle , with a retention rate of 88.2%
    • These differences in retention rate are statistically significant ( χ 2 (2, N = 79, 545) = 796.63, p < .05)
  • 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?
    • 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)
    • This difference was not statistically significant χ 2 (2, N = 79, 545) = 2.47, < critical value of chi square of 3.841
    • 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)
  • 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?
    • The difference in retention by gender in the online format was marginally significant χ 2 (1, N = 38,056) = 3.846, p < .05
    • For only the blended instruction , 86.0% of males and 89.8% of females were retained
    • The difference in retention by gender in the blended format was statistically significant χ 2 (1, N = 1310) = 4.46, p < .05
    • For only the traditional format, 92.2% of males and 91.8% of females were retained
    • This difference was not statistically significant χ 2 (2, N = 40,179) = 2.47, < critical value of chi square of 3.841
  • 12. Findings for Research Question #3.: Are there differences in student achievement (measured by course final grade) by instructional modality of delivery?
    • Traditional instruction had the highest average grade (3.028)
    • Online instruction had the lowest average grade (2.967)
    • Once again, blended instruction fell in the middle (3.017)
    • Analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that this difference in average grade by instructional modality was statistically significant (F=30.321; p < .0001)
    • Follow-up testing revealed that:
    • --there were no statistically significant differences between online and blended courses or blended and traditional courses ; but:
    • --there was a statistically significant difference in academic achievement when online and traditional instruction were compared
  • 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?
    • 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)
    • This difference was statistically significant ( F [1, 79,543] = 17.70, p < .0001)
    • 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)
  • 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?
    • For only the blended instruction , there was also only a slight difference in average grade by gender (males: 3.022; females: 3.01)
    • For only the traditional instruction , there was also only a slight difference in average grade by gender (males: 3.108; females; 2.980)
    • 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)
  • 15. Discussion
    • There appears to be a strong relationship between instructional format and student retention
    • Traditional instruction produces higher retention rates than either online or blended formats
    • A greater percentage of men retained in the online and traditional models as compared to women in the same models
    • Somewhat surprisingly, women retained at a significantly higher percentage rate than men only in the blended model
    • No clear explanation (other than much smaller sample size) for why a blending of those models produced a superior retention rate among women
    • 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
  • 16. Discussion, con’t.
    • 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
    • This finding contradicts results of other studies that online instruction is at least equal and possibly superior to traditional instruction
    • Also contradicts studies about courses in fields outside of mathematics that found no significant difference between scores in online and traditional courses
    • There may be some subject areas , such as mathematics, in which students will not perform as well in an online environment
    • Adding a face-to-face component to an online mathematics course may mitigate any potential shortcomings in academic achievement
  • 17. Discussion, con’t.
    • Gender did make a difference in student achievement in Math 200 but not in conjunction with instructional format ( only across all modalities pooled)
    • Interestingly, although the blended modality produced the highest academic achievement for women , it produced the lowest academic achievement for men
    • Blended instruction was the only modality in which the retention of women exceeded that of men
  • 18. Critical Reflections
    • 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)
    • Gender had no significant role in the interactive effect between achievement and instructional modality
    • This study stands in contrast to the advocates of the “no significant difference” phenomenon
    • 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
    • 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