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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

 

REL-Midwest - The Virtual Algebra Study: Impact of Offering an Online Algebra I Course to Eighth Graders With No Local Access

The first session of the afternoon at the REL-Midwest: Online Learning Opportunities For Rural Schools event was "The Virtual Algebra Study: Impact of Offering an Online Algebra I Course to Eighth Graders With No Local Access" by Peggy Clements of the REL Northeast and Islands at Education Development Center.

Peggy began her session by describing that her results are still not approved for release (see NRCRES Conference: Increasing Rural 8th Graders’ Access to Algebra I: Is Online Education An Effective Alternative? for an earlier entry roughly the same as this one), so she won't be providing any findings but will be discussing the study - particularly the nature of the intervention. As much of this was reported in the previous entry, I'll just include additional comments here.

One of the things that Peggy did clarify was that the focus of the study was not to compare student performance between face-to-face and online students. It was focused on expand access to students who wouldn't otherwise have access to Algebra I in grade 8 (for the students that were ready to take algebra).

As a reminder, the primary research questions were:
  1. What is the impact of offering Algebra I online to AR students on their end-of-eighth grade algebra achievement?
  2. What is the impact of offering Algebra I online to AR students on their subsequent high school course taking?
The secondary research questions:
  1. What is the impact of offering Algebra I online to AR students on the N-AR students mathematics achievement?
  2. What is the impact of offering Algebra I online to AR students on the n-AR students subsequent high school course taking?
  3. What is the impact of offering Algebra I online to AR students on the AR general mathematics achievement?
This study was a randomized control trial, where the following groups existed:
Peggy than began to describe the nature of the online Algebra I course - which was asynchronous, self-paced, with the presence of a school-based proctor. This set-up resulted in 80% of the students being in the back of the classroom, during the regular grade 8 mathematics class with the regular mathematics teacher being the proctor (and teaching the regular grade 8 math class during this time). The course was a Class.com course, taught by a teacher in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The remainder of the presentation was looking at samples of the online Algebra I course. It was basically a model where students would read through an online, interactive textbook or they could view an interactive chalkboard that provided a narrated worked example. After reviewing these items, students would complete practice and exploratory activities, along with graded assignments based on open-ended prompts and then graded multiple-choice quizzes.

The results are expected to be reported in Spring 2011.

This entry is re-posted at REL-Midwest - The Virtual Algebra Study: Impact of Offering an Online Algebra I Course to Eighth Graders With No Local Access on Virtual School Meanderings.

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