Panel: Online and Computer-Based Remediation

Saturday, November 4, 2017: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Columbian (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Whitney Kozakowski, Harvard University
Panel Chairs:  Kelly Hallberg, University of Chicago
Discussants:  Di Xu, University of California, Irvine

Virtual Course-Taking and Credit-Recovery in Florida
Daniel Berger1, Cassandra Hart2, Brian Jacob1 and Susanna Loeb3, (1)University of Michigan, (2)University of California, Davis, (3)Stanford University

Policymakers are experimenting with computer-based approaches to help struggling students in both high school and higher education. However, the use of computer-based or fully online instruction to either substitute for or supplement traditional instruction has a mixed record (Barrow, Markman, & Rouse, 2009; Rouse & Krueger, 2004; Dynarski, et al, 2007; Bowen, et al, 2014; Alpert, Couch, & Harmon, 2014). This panel explores the use of these mediums for students in both high school and college remedial courses.

The first and second papers examine the use of the emporium model of computer-based instruction in remedial college courses. Unlike traditional lecture-based instruction, students enrolled in emporium model courses spend class time working in a computer lab with instructors on-site to offer help if students have questions. Using evidence from two-year colleges in Kentucky, the first paper finds that students are less likely to pass their courses under the emporium model and do not complete their course sequences any faster, despite having the flexibility to do so. Examining the emporium model in Tennessee, the second paper also finds negative effects of the emporium model on students in two-year colleges but finds positive effects on four-year college students, including higher degree attainment rates.

The third and fourth papers study the introduction of online courses for high school students who fail traditional courses during the school year. The third paper examines the introduction of online credit recovery in North Carolina to understand its effects on graduation and dropout rates, as well as potential unintended effects such as worse initial performance in high school courses. The fourth paper explores the effects of introducing virtual summer school to 9th and 10th grade students in Florida on the likelihood that students progress to later courses, their grades in later courses, and their likelihood of dropping out.

Taken together, this panel will help identify lessons about the contexts in which computer-based or fully online instruction can help students in remedial courses in both high school and college. It will also explore the potential challenges and unintended consequences policymakers should consider when using these approaches with struggling students.

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