Date of Conferral







Kelly S. Hall


AbstractThe growth of online courses in higher education, combined with the distinct situational identity of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and their continued emphasis on face-to-face (F2F) instruction, provided an opportunity to learn more about learning modalities and student grades at HBCUs. The problem was previous research findings are contradictory regarding grades among modalities at HBCUs. The purpose of this study was to compare differences in grades among three learning modalities (F2F, hybrid, and online) for three student groups (African American, non-African American, and all students) at three public, 4-year HBCUs in one U.S. state. This cross-sectional, ex post facto, nonexperimental, comparative study was guided by the learning environment, learning processes, and learning outcomes framework. Secondary data consisting of 348,631-course grades were analyzed using Kruskal-Wallace H and Dunns statistics to test hypotheses. Very small statistically significant differences were found in mean rank student grades across the three modalities for all student groups. For the African American and all student groups, the mean rank for grades in hybrid courses was significantly higher than the mean rank in F2F and online courses. The mean rank for non-African American students’ course grades in online courses was significantly higher than the mean rank in F2F and hybrid courses. This study contributes to social change by showing that grades are not different among HBCU students who take courses in various modalities; thus, HBCU stakeholders can support course delivery among various modalities and increase educational access among diverse and traditionally marginalized students.