The Impact of Demographic Characteristics on Academic Performance: Face-to-Face Learning Versus Distance Learning Implemented to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
The spread of COVID-19 presents an opportunity for many educational institutions to implement distance learning and ensure the provision of educational resources and services, secure income and revenues, and contribute to the control and prevention of the coronavirus. This study was conducted to investigate the impact of demographic characteristics on academic performance. Students’ grades and grade point averages (GPA) were collected from the Admission and Registration Unit, Al Ain University in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. The data were used to measure academic performance in face-to-face (F2F) learning and distance learning (DL) implemented by the university to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Statistical analysis including the Mann-Whitney test, Spearman’s rho test, and a regression test were used to answer research questions and verify hypotheses. Students demonstrated better academic performance in DL than F2F learning. It was found that the number of weak students in F2F learning dropped sharply by more than 11% in DL. Demographic characteristics demonstrated a significant impact on students’ academic performance and predicted at least 7.4% variation in F2F learning and DL. Findings of the study support the model developed by Tinto (1975) which proposed the impact of student’s attributes, experiences, and family backgrounds on academic performance. The findings suggest non-DL institutions should continue offering DL side-by-side with F2F learning programs.
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