(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
The headline in the New York Times says it all “Study Finds that Online Learning Beats the Classroom.”
“The study’s major significance lies in demonstrating that online learning today is not just better than nothing — it actually tends to be better than conventional instruction,” said Barbara Means, the study’s lead author and an educational psychologist at SRI International.
I haven’t had a chance to read the study yet, but it looks like a meta analysis and finds:
Over the 12-year span, the report found 99 studies in which there were quantitative comparisons of online and classroom performance for the same courses. The analysis for the Department of Education found that, on average, students doing some or all of the course online would rank in the 59th percentile in tested performance, compared with the average classroom student scoring in the 50th percentile. That is a modest but statistically meaningful difference.
Nine national percentile points is a very large difference in my book. To put that in perspective, the highest scoring state in the country (MA) outscores the lowest (MS) by about 13.4% on the 4th grade reading NAEP.
I’ll write more after examining the study.