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Attitudes of Middle School Students: Learning Online Compared to Face to Face

, Grundy Center Community School District/University of Northern Iowa, United States ; , University of Northern Iowa, United States

JCMST Volume 32, Number 1, ISSN 0731-9258 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


Education in an online setting is an increasingly popular method of instruction. Previous studies comparing college or high school student performance in online and face-to-face courses found, in most cases, similar achievement between conditions. However, research is lacking regarding middle school students’ academic performance and attitudes toward online learning. This counterbalanced, repeated measures study examined a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data examining the attitudes of 46 Caucasian sixth grade middle school students (24m, 22f) as they studied ten mathematics topics, alternating between online learning using laptop computers in a classroom and traditional face-to-face instruction. Previously, academic achievement of these same students was shown to be equivalent between conditions. Results of the current attitude analysis showed that a majority of students preferred online instruction for understanding of mathematical concepts and rated online learning significantly higher with a large effect size (Cohen’s d = 0.72) in enjoyment of learning, although ratings decreased somewhat over the school year indicating loss of initial novelty. Students indicated that communication and the ability to work at a personal pace were two areas important to their attitudes toward working in an online setting.


Edwards, C. & Rule, A. (2013). Attitudes of Middle School Students: Learning Online Compared to Face to Face. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 32(1), 49-66. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved April 25, 2019 from .


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Cited By

  1. Attitudes and Achievement in a Self-Paced Blended Mathematics Course

    Phoebe Balentyne, Northern Illinois University, United States; Mary Alice Varga, University of West Georgia, United States

    Journal of Online Learning Research Vol. 3, No. 1 (May 2017) pp. 55–72

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