(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.
Echoes of Clayton Christensen, anyone?
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.
Maybe Ontario Canada should teach online.
(http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/index.php/blog) It’s got to be better than what is obviously NOT working there.
[…] found that Matthew Ladner over at the Jay P. Greene Blog had beat me to it, posting about the study yesterday. He references the New York Times story, “Study Finds that Online Learning Beats the […]
[…] The Dept. of Education has just released a study finding that (predominantly college-aged or older) students learn significantly more if their lessons occur at least partly on-line, than if they rack up seat-time exclusively in conventional classrooms (HT: Matt Ladner). […]
My biggest question after a quick skim:
1) What were the dependent variables? Almost all the studies dealt with college or continuing learning, so we aren’t talking about standardized tests, right?
2) Selection effects of some kind?