# Learning Equity between Online and On-Site Mathematics Courses

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5 Figure 3. Final online course grade histogram (N = 178) Figure 4. Final on-site course grades QQ plot (N = 267) Figure 5. Final online course grades QQ plot (N = 178) Levene's test for homogeneity of variance indicated that the variance in the on-site class final grades was not significantly different from the variance in the online class final grades, F(1, 443) = 1.308, ns at

7 Figure 6. Successful completer final course grade boxplots Figure 7. Final on-site course successful completer grade histogram (n = 214) Figure 8. Final online course successful completer grade histogram (n = 119) Further, Levene's test for homogeneity of variance indicated that the variance in the on-site class final grades was significantly different from the variance in the online class final grades, F(1, 331) = 8.962, s at

8 Figure 9. Final on-site course successful completer grades QQ plot (n = 214) Figure 10. Final online course successful completer grades QQ plot (n = 119) The Mann Whitney U test, followed by the t-test for independent samples, equal variances not assumed, was utilized to test the following hypothesis: H 0 : µ online = µ onsite (There is no statistically significant difference in mean achievement between online and on-site students who successfully complete the same mathematics course.) A significant difference was found between the mean scores for successful online course completers and successful on-site course completers. The Mann Whitney U test indicated U = , p =.000. Results from the t-test showed t( ) = 4.251, p =.000. Intermediate Summary In summary, there is a significant difference between on-site and online course achievement as measured by final course percentage grades, in favor of on-site course student achievement over the course of the 10 semesters included in this study. There are a number of factors that must be considered, however, before one would rely too heavily on these conclusions. While the online course section was taught consistently by one instructor with nearly uniform expectations across all semesters, the on-site course section was taught over the time period of this study by four different instructors. All four of the onsite instructors had their own grading and assessment systems, which in several cases did not align closely with all the assessment mechanisms utilized in the online course section. 8

10 Figure 11. Seven-semester final course grade boxplots Figure 12. Final on-site course grade seven-semester histogram (n = 183) Figure 13. Final online course grade seven-semester histogram (n = 118) 10

11 Figure 14. Final on-site course grade seven-semester QQ plot (n = 183) Figure 15. Final online course grade seven-semester QQ plot (n = 118) Conclusion Online mathematics course offerings have increased so rapidly that it has been difficult for research to keep pace with this growth. Research in the area of online mathematics course offerings in rural areas, especially in Appalachia, has been nearly nonexistent. This research study makes an important contribution to addressing the question of equity between online and on-site mathematics learning and achievement. Mathematics stands as the gatekeeper to higher education and career choices. It is critical that students have access to quality mathematics courses. The findings of the study offer important information to higher education institutions seeking to offer quality online courses that meet the needs of their students and communities. Since no significant difference was found between the mean scores for on-site and online students for the seven most recent semesters, it seems reasonable to conclude that it is possible for students in both onsite and online sections of a course to achieve equity in mathematics learning as measured by final course grades. Future research is needed to further explore the impact on student learning of consistent curriculum and assessment when the same course is taught by multiple instructors, regardless of whether all sections of the course are on-site, online, or a mixture of both online and on-site. Student preferences of online 11

12 versus on-site learning should also be explored to learn how students believe they learn best and what other factors may influence their decision to choose one format of the course over another. References Ashby, J., Sadera, W. A., & McNary, S. W. (2011). Comparing student success between developmental math courses offered online, blended, and face-to-face. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 10(3), Retrieved from Eggert, J. G. (2009). A comparison of online and classroom-based developmental math courses (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. (UMI No ) Lynch-Newberg, S. A. (2010). The retention, success, and progress rates of rural females in traditional lecture and online developmental mathematics courses (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. (UMI No ) National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: Author. Rey, J. G. (2010). The effects of online courses for student success in basic skills mathematics classes at California Community Colleges (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. (UMI No ) Ryan, W. J. (2001). Comparison of student performance and attitude in a lecture class to student performance and attitude in a telecourse and a web-based class (Doctoral dissertation, Nova Southeastern University). Available from ERIC database. (ED467394). Simonson, M. R., Schlosser, C. A., & Hanson, D. H. (1999). Theory and distance education: A new discussion. The American Journal of Distance Education, 13(1), doi: / Xu, D., & Jaggars, S. S. (2011) The effectiveness of distance education across Virginia's Community Colleges: Evidence from introductory college-level math and English courses. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33(3), doi: / This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License For details please go to: 12

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