Study supports OER efficacy

 This new study published by at BYU, which provides the most rigorous and compelling evidence to date to support OER efficacy.

The study looks at a sample of more than 16,000 students across 10 institutions, and compares several measures of student academic success between those using open textbooks and those using traditional textbooks. The results show a clear trend that students who use open textbooks do as well or better than those who use traditional textbooks. Here are some of the key points:

  • Course completion: In all of the courses studied, students who were assigned open textbooks were as likely or more likely to complete their course than those assigned traditional textbooks. In one course, the completion rate was remarkably 15 percentage points higher for students using open textbooks.
  • Grades: Students who were assigned open textbooks tended to have final grades equivalent to or better than those assigned traditional textbooks. In more than a quarter of the courses, students using open textbooks achieved higher grades, and only one course using open textbooks showed lower grades (which is at least partially explained by the course’s significantly higher completion rate, which includes the grades of students who would have otherwise dropped out).
  • Credit load: Students who were assigned open textbooks took approximately 2 credits more both in the semester of the study and in the following semester. This is a sign that students are reinvesting money saved on textbooks into more courses, which can accelerate graduation times and potentially reduce debt.
  • Overall success: Overall, students in more than half of the courses that used open textbooks did better according to at least one academic measure used in the study, and students in 93% of these courses did at least as well by all of the measures.

Longer blog post about the study for the Huffington Post here.

Also don’t forget about the Review Project, which collects peer reviewed research on OER impacts.

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