Date of Award

Winter 1-1-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy In Urban Education Degree: Policy Studies


Education And Human Services

First Advisor

Harper, Brian E.

Second Advisor

Frederick M. Hampton, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Mark Freeman, Ph.D.


Online learning education in K-12 districts across the United States has continually grown in the United States (Barbour & Kennedy, 2014). Research from online course studies of adult learners suggests several factors influence successful course completion. However, discrepancies exist as to whether the findings can be generalized to 9-12 E-learning students. Literature exploring the learner characteristics associated with successful secondary students in online studies is limited. The research on online education identifies students who are highly motivated, high-achieving, and self-starting as those that are most likely to complete online courses successfully (Barbour & Reeves, 2009). High schools across Ohio employ online learning education to support graduation pathways of all diverse learners. This study explored differences that exist between subgroups when learner characteristics in the online learning environment are compared with course completion percentage. Archival records of students who had attempted credits towards high school graduation through online learning coursework were collected from four participating school districts. The sample for this study was drawn from inner-ring suburban school districts in Northeast Ohio with an urban boundary. The subjects of this study included 214 high school students, grades 9-12, enrolled in online courses pursuing credits toward high school completion. vi Standard linear regression was calculated to predict course completion percentages based on gender, race, grade level, and grade level according to expected age as the independent variables. The results of this study provided evidence related to online learner characteristics that exist in digital learning environments. Positive results indicate students in upper-grade levels, and female students are more likely to be successful in earning credits in virtual learning environments. The analysis produced favorable outcomes for students who are at grade level to complete online courses successfully. Non-Black students are more likely to complete online courses when compared to Black students based on the findings of this research. The implications of this investigation have practical significance for school districts implementing virtual learning options across the curriculum. It is essential to continue exploring the relationship between individual learner characteristics and course completion for high school E-learners to support online education as a viable instructional pedagogy.

Included in

Education Commons