The Effect Of Quality Matters Certification On Student Satisfaction, Grades, And Retention At Florida International University

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Community College Leadership Program


Doctor of Education

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The rate of college graduation is dismal in the US. Less than half of college freshmen that started college in 2004 graduated within six years. The new knowledge economy requires an educated populace, and online learning has the potential to solve the problem of ready access to higher education. Many educators, administrators, parents, and potential employers have a low opinion of online learning. Part of the concern is lack of quality assurance. Quality assurance through external validation can confirm the effectiveness of online learning and student success. The Quality Matters, Inc. program and process can provide the quality assurance the online industry need. A study seeking to confirm the effectiveness of Quality Matters, Inc. through the use of the Community of Inquiry questionnaire was administered to students enrolled in 12 before and after QM certified online courses at Florida International University. Grade and retention data from an additional 23 online courses were analyzed to determine differences before and after QM certification. No significant differences were found in student satisfaction, grades, or retention between before and after QM certified online courses. Results indicate student success measures such as satisfaction, grades or retention may not be predicated on Quality Matters certification of online courses, the Community of Inquiry framework may not be an adequate tool to measure the effect of Quality Matters certification on student satisfaction, and factors impacting student success are much too varied and complex to use one instrument to ascertain an effect.