Evaluation of Adaptive Learning in Statistics (ALiS)

Research Report

Evaluation of Adaptive Learning in Statistics (ALiS)

Testing an Online Adaptive Learning Platform at Nine Postsecondary Institutions in Maryland

Abstract

The Adaptive Learning in Statistics (ALiS) Project tested the implementation of an adaptive learning platform at nine colleges in Maryland. The platform served as a textbook replacement to introduce course concepts inside and outside of the classroom, and instructors used in-class time to reinforce statistics concepts as part of a flipped classroom approach. This report describes study results from the 2017/18 academic year. The Urban Institute evaluation compared course satisfaction and learning outcomes (course grade, pass rates, and statistics competency) of students who completed introductory statistics in class sections with the ALiS approach against the outcomes for students enrolled in “business as usual” introductory statistics sections. We find that the ALiS intervention was effective at four-year colleges relative to business as usual. Students at community colleges in ALiS sections did not show significant differences in any of the measures of performance relative to students in business-as-usual sections but were less satisfied with the course than their peers in other sections. When all students are aggregated in the analysis, the results showed very modest improvements in student grades and statistics competency, no difference in passing with a C or better, and a lower level of satisfaction. This study adds to the body of research on adaptive learning approaches by highlighting the important roles of pedagogy, course curriculum, and course structure in the experience of students completing college-level, technology-mediated coursework.

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