Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Richard Braley


Researchers have found that student success rates in online classes are lower than in comparable face-to-face courses. Yet, the research is unclear as to whether student demographic and academic history variables are related to the lower success rates. At a large community college in Florida, low success rates for students in the online Intermediate Algebra course led to delays in the continuation of required coursework and graduation for many students and the factors associated with low success rates were largely unknown. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to examine the associations between several student variables and student success in online Intermediate Algebra at the research site. Guided by Tinto's interactionalist theory, key student demographic variables (age, gender, ethnicity, and veteran status) as well as an academic history of completing developmental math coursework were identified for investigation in this study. Archival data from all 731 online Intermediate Algebra students from Fall 2014 were included in the tests of associations among the variables. A random sample of 50 student transcripts was reviewed to test the association between developmental coursework and student success in the algebra course. Chi-square analyses showed that age and ethnicity were associated with online Intermediate Algebra student success; younger students and those of Asian and White ethnicity were more likely to be successful. Academic history, gender, and veteran status were not significant. In response to the findings, a professional development project was created to lead to social change by educating higher education professionals on the potential impact of student related variables when working with online students.