New Equitable Access Research
I have completed new research on Equitable Access and its impact on course completion rates at a 4-year institution. The study was a pre/post implementation analysis of course completion rates with the purpose of understanding if an Equitable Access course materials model had an impact on course completion rates when comparing pre and post implementation populations. The University of Southern Mississippi provided data for the study. Pre-implementation terms for the study were Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 and the post-implementation terms were Fall 2021, Spring 2022, and Fall 2022. The study population was 48,967. I will cover a few highlights of the study in this blog.
This study had some unique populations characteristics, some of which were in line with other studies I have completed. Female students dominated this study as they made up 63% of the total populations. This is in line with my 2-year Equitable Access study and about 8% higher than my and Dr. Brad Piazza’s Waukesha Inclusive Access study. White students were the racial majority at 56% of the total population. This percentage is in line the 2-year EA study and 18% lower than the Waukesha IA study. However, for the first time in any study I have conducted, Black students made up over 20% of the population. Black students made up about 33% of the total study population. Traditional aged students, those 24 and younger made up over 89% of the total study population. I think this 24 and under population percentage is expected at a 4-year institution when compared to a 2-year institution.
Completion Rate Change
I am not going to give away the whole study because I want you to go check it out, but there were some interesting results when looking at the +/- change in course completion rates between the populations. Underrepresented student populations experienced a 2.5-40x greater benefit with Equitable Access than the White student racial majority. Again, White students made up over 56% of the population so, to me, this is an interesting point. It also validates the other research that I have completed showing increased benefit for underrepresented student populations. The percent change experienced by the post-implementation population is not as exaggerated as we saw in the 2-year EA study. However, if we put it into context of real students, the use of an Equitable Access program is changing the lives of nearly 300 students. Interestingly, Hispanic students had a decrease in course completion rate of -1.66% in the post-implementation population. This is the second of four studies where Hispanic students have had a negative interaction with the course materials intervention model. This population is the only one that has shown a decrease in even one of my studies. For any aspiring researchers, this may be an area to focus future research.
For statistically inclined readers, 7 of the 12 categories analyzed were found to be statistically significant. I used a p-value of .05 for this study and the 7 statistically significant category p-values ranged between .019 and .001. While all categories analyzed, except for Hispanic students, had an increase in course completion rate in the post-implementation population, the increases were not enough for four of them to be statistically significant.
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact on student course completion rates when four-year university students are provided their required course materials on or before the first day of class as part of an equitable access program, compared to students who had the responsibility to source their own required course materials (pre-implementation). As you work through the study, I challenge you to reflect on what the real, practical impact is of this study may represent. While you may not jump at the percentage change, there is real impact on changing the academic outcomes and fortunes for students. Regardless of your position on the use of Equitable Access, these models are impacting student access to course materials and improving student outcomes. My new favorite line from this paper is, “Course materials intervention research isn’t rocket science, but course materials intervention adoption could help someone become a rocket scientist”. As always, thanks for checking in and I’ll see you next time.
Reference Citation: Moore, M. (2023). Equitable Access: A Course Completion Rate Analysis from a 4-Year Institution. Retrieved from https://edarxiv.org/g3wt4/.