Blended Learning in Middle School Math: The Question of Effectiveness
AbstractBlended learning models can help teachers leverage the power of technology to customize student learning and differentiate instruction for students at varying achievement levels. Research on the effectiveness of blended learning in K-12 education has largely relied on case studies, and findings suggest differences in achievement outcomes based on content areas and grade levels. This paper reports findings from a quantitative comparative study conducted to investigate the effects of blended learning, specifically using the station rotation model, on the math achievement of 413 sixth grade students. Scores on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), as well as the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) were used. Student groups were selected based on teacher responses on a survey in which they were asked to identify what portion of their class was spent on blended learning practices and on face-to-face teaching. A t-test was conducted to determine the differences in the scores of students taught in traditional fully face-to-face classrooms and those taught in blended learning classrooms. Findings showed that students instructed through blended learning scored higher on the MAP assessment (M = 11.12, SD = 7.88) than students in a fully face-to-face environment (M = 8.84, SD = 7.40), t(411) = 3.02, p < .01. On the other hand, students instructed in a face-to-face setting scored higher on STAAR (M = 29.96, SD = 11.84) than those in blended learning settings (M = 26.75, SD = 11.06), t(411) = -2.85, p < .01. Blended learning was more effective in facilitating growth in math learning as compared to meeting grade level criteria. These findings indicate that schools can benefit from implementing blended learning particularly for students who are behind academically and need additional academic growth in one school year.