Do compressed in-person classes yield student performance results comparable to traditional 16-week in-person classes?

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Irene Miller
Timm Bliss


Institutions of higher learning are offering an increasing number of compressed in-person classes with the goal of providing to their diverse student populations flexibility of instruction delivery. Southern Illinois University (SIU) and many other colleges are offering an increasing number of classes with compressed schedules to increase student enrollment (Krug et al., 2015). The increase in the number of compressed classes presents the challenge of ensuring that the same academic rigor and breadth of knowledge are maintained in comparison to the traditional 16-week semester.  Therefore, it is necessary for the compressed courses to provide the same student learning outcomes and cover the same course material, requiring faculty to use the same textbooks and course content. The purpose of this research study was to determine any variance in overall student academic performance after two groups of undergraduate students completed the same course taught in two different modalities, as indicated by comparing students’ final course grades.  This study compared the performance of two groups of undergraduate students enrolled in the same Southern Illinois University (SIU) course that was delivered in two different modalities.  An independent samples t-test was conducted in SPSS to determine if there was a significant difference between the on-campus and off-campus classes’ final course grades. There was no significant difference found between the on-campus and off-campus classes. These results suggest that the delivery formats of the course, traditional 16-week format or compressed off-campus weekend format, did not result in meaningful differences in the final course grades for the participating classes.

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