Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation
Tiffany A. Koszalka
Course Performance, Course Persistence, Multilevel Modeling, Online Courses, Predictor Variables, Student Characteristics
Attrition in online courses is of growing concern in higher education. Many researchers and practitioners are concerned about student persistence (course completion) and performance (completion of a course with a grade of C or better) in online courses. This study investigated the undergraduate student characteristics that predict student persistence and performance in online courses and the face-to-face equivalents at a four-year private northeastern university. The sample consists of undergraduate students (42,280 observations, 25,167 unduplicated student headcount, which is the actual number of individual students in the population) who enrolled in courses, regardless of delivery format, from fall 2002 to spring 2013. This study attempted to identify the undergraduate student characteristics that predict student persistence and performance in online courses and the face-to-face equivalents while controlling for all available institutional variables such as demographics (age, gender, race/ethnicity, and financial aid) and academic performance (grade point average prior to enrollment at the institution, concurrent enrollment programs, and math and verbal scholastic aptitude test scores). The student characteristics were examined using multilevel modeling. The first level of analysis was the individual student and the second level of analysis was the academic school/college in which the student was enrolled. The findings of this study were mixed. No cause and effect claims were made. Aligning with much of the literature in this area, the results of this study consistently demonstrate that GPA prior to enrollment at the institution predicts student success in both online courses and the face-to-face equivalents. Students enrolled in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Management were more likely to succeed (persist and perform) in both online courses and the face-to-face equivalent. Consistently those students who identified their race/ethnicity as a minority, were less likely to succeed in online courses and the face-to-face equivalents.
Bull, Karen Zannini, "STUDENT CHARACTERISTICS THAT PREDICT PERSISTENCE AND PERFORMANCE IN ONLINE COURSES AND THE FACE-TO-FACE EQUIVALENTS AT A FOUR-YEAR PRIVATE NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY" (2015). Dissertations - ALL. 380.