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Comparison of Face-to-Face and Online Mathematics Learning of Sixth Graders

, Grundy Center Community School District, 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


Online education is increasing in popularity at the college and high school levels with several studies showing the comparability of e-learning and more traditional methods. Middle school students’ ability to function well with this mode of instruction has not been established in the literature, although the circumstances of Generation Z growing up with technology suggest potential success. This counterbalanced, repeated measures study provides empirical evidence of the academic efficacy of online instruction for middle school students learning mathematical concepts. Forty-six Caucasian sixth graders (24m, 22f) in two mixed-ability classes participated in the quasi-experimental study in which they switched between online laptop learning in a supervised classroom with electronic communication only and traditional face-to-face learning for ten different mathematics topics. Academic performance was evaluated by pretests-posttests. All classes were taught by the same instructor with the same/similar practice problems, exercises, assignments, and manipulatives adapted for the environment. Gain scores (except for perimeter) and posttest scores showed no statistically significant differences between the two conditions; TOST (two one-sided t-tests) calculations indicated that gain score and posttest performance was equivalent for the two conditions, showing that middle school students can indeed learn online. Additional studies with more participants or greater diversity are needed.


Edwards, C.M., Rule, A.C. & Boody, R.M. (2013). Comparison of Face-to-Face and Online Mathematics Learning of Sixth Graders. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 32(1), 25-47. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 28, 2020 from .



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