Who Succeeds in Distance Learning? Evidence from Quantile Panel Data Estimation

25 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2017

See all articles by Marigee Bacolod

Marigee Bacolod

Naval Postgraduate School

Stephen L. Mehay

Government of the United States of America - Naval Postgraduate School

Elda Pema

Naval Postgraduate School

Date Written: July 1, 2017

Abstract

This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the distributional effects of distance learning (DL) on the academic success of sailor-students, as measured by course grades and completion. Using course-level data on 1.5 million courses taken by about 200,000 U.S. Navy sailors at more than 1,800 US institutions during 1994-2007, we find that similar to the civilian population, distance delivery of education is associated with poorer student outcomes. In addition, we find that the negative effect of DL at the mean is being driven by the bottom two-thirds of the distribution. At the mean, DL delivery is associated with 0.19 lower GPA; however, the mean effect masks the more pronounced negative effects of DL in the bottom tail of up to 0.8 lower grade points. Using variation only among marginal students – those who tend to fail some of the courses that they take, our estimates indicate traditional face-to-face delivery is associated with 2.4 times greater likelihood of course completion than if it was delivered distant to marginal students. These findings suggest that targeting DL courses to certain students may be more cost-effective.

Keywords: Distance Education, Online Education, Quantile Regression with Panel Data

JEL Classification: I20, I23

Suggested Citation

Bacolod, Marigee and Mehay, Stephen L. and Pema, Elda, Who Succeeds in Distance Learning? Evidence from Quantile Panel Data Estimation (July 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3015987 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3015987

Marigee Bacolod (Contact Author)

Naval Postgraduate School ( email )

555 Dyer Road
Monterey, CA 93943
United States

Stephen L. Mehay

Government of the United States of America - Naval Postgraduate School ( email )

1 University Circle
Monterey, CA 93943-5001
United States
831-656-2643 (Phone)
831-656-3068 (Fax)

Elda Pema

Naval Postgraduate School ( email )

United States

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