Weakest students more likely to take online college classes but do worse in them
Protopsalt is is a professor at George Mason University, where he directs Center for Education Policy and Evaluation. He previously served as a senior official in the U.S. Department of Education.
The paper, “Does Online Education Live Up to Its Promise? A Look at the Evidence and Implications for Federal Policy,” was also written by Sandy Baum, an economist at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization.
At four-year universities, students with high grades often did just as well in an online course, but those with low grades suffered more. Another 2017 study of students at a for-profit university which offers both in-person and online classes found that students who took an online class not only got lower grades in that class but also in future classes. Online students were more likely to drop out of college altogether than similar students who attended in-person classes.
The question is whether we should keep expanding online learning, with generous federal subsidies, to the most vulnerable students before colleges have tested and proven they can educate them adequately outside the classroom.
more on online learning in this IMS blog