According to a study, students taking the course in-person earned roughly a B- grade (2.8) on average while if they had taken it online, they would have earned a C (2.4). Additionally, taking a course online reduces a student’s GPA the following term by 0.15 points; and, if we look only at the next term GPA for courses in the same subject area or courses for which the course in question is a pre-requisite, we find larger drops of 0.42 points and 0.32 points respectively, providing evidence that students learned less in the online setting. The study also finds that taking a course online, instead of in person, increases the probability that a student will drop out of school. The study suggests that continued improvement of online curricula and instruction can strengthen the quality of these courses and hence the educational opportunities for the most in-need populations.
Bettinger, E., & Loeb, S. (2017). Promises and pitfalls of online education. Evidence Speaks Reports, 2(15). https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/ccf_20170609_loeb_evidence_speaks1.pdf