Research Proposal

Proposal: Student participation in online learning and its impact on traditional classroom performance

In this paper, I intend to examine how a high school student’s involvement in online learning transfers to their performance in a traditional classroom setting. I mean to study high school students who take at least one course online, and determine how their performance changes in their traditional classes. My initial impulse is to say that participating in an online learning environment imbues a student with certain ‘soft skills’, such as better time management, and the ability to be self-directed, which should translate into better overall achievement, but I want to examine quantitatively whether this is true or not.

I am fortunate in being in a position where I can access records of student achievement, and I hope to conduct original research using these records. I intend to correlate student achievement at the end of grade 10 with achievement at the end of the first semester of grade 11 to identify any change in performance. I will first determine how grades have changed (either improved or decreased) of the student body as a whole, and then relate this statistic to the performance of students who are enrolled in an online course as well as traditional classroom courses.  I will maintain anonymity of my subject body, and will not identify any individual results, but will rather treat the subjects as two groups; those who take 100% traditional classroom courses, and those who are enrolled in at least one online course as well as traditional classroom courses.

Unfortunately, my sample size will be quite small, in that there are only nine online students out of a total grade 11 population of roughly 50 students that I have access to, however this study may provide some initial results that can lead to a larger and more detailed investigation.

The student body under investigation is one that experiences a shift in curriculum from grade 10 and the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP), however since all students make this same transition (including the online students), the inferences made should still be relevant.  Ideally I would be measuring year-end results versus year-end results, but only data from the first semester of grade 11 is currently available, and the change in data is universal. In a future study, I would aim to extrapolate across several years, in hopes of identifying larger trends.

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