A Comparative Study of Third Through Fifth Grade In-Person and Virtual Students on English/Language Arts and Math Benchmark Grades in a Selected School District in Upper East Tennessee
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The purpose of this quantitative study was to compare the effects of virtual and in-person learning models on English/Language Arts and Math benchmark scores. The students were randomly selected from eight different elementary schools and an intermediate school from grades 3, 4, and 5. Eight hundred and ninety-four students were selected. The participants were divided into two equal groups representing virtual and in-person learners. Data were analyzed from system-created benchmark test scores in Math and English/Language Arts for the 2020-2021 school year. The test scores analyzed were from second and third quarter tests. The first quarter benchmark was not administered due to COVID-19 closures. The two quarter scores for each participant were averaged for analysis. The results indicated that all virtual groups scored lower than in-person students in Math and English/Language Arts in each grade level and subject. However, fourth-grade virtual learning students scored significantly lower in English/Language Arts and Math than in-person students, and virtual learning students in fifth-grade Math scored significantly lower also. The results suggest that it is difficult to duplicate the experiences that students have with in-person learning versus virtual learning. Future research is needed that analyzes a broader group of students and different types of schools’ virtual programs.
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