The Effects and Implications of Using Open Educational Resources in Secondary Schools
Open educational resources (OER) constitute a curriculum innovation that is considered revolutionary and has the potential to change the landscape of curriculum at all levels and content areas. OER have gained attention and widespread acceptance by educators and policy makers since 2002. The promise of OER is that they provide cost savings, promote collaboration, and are adaptable to the needs of teachers and students while providing a legitimate alternative to commercially produced print textbooks. Determining the relevance and viability of the movement to embrace OER requires an examination of theoretical foundations and empirical research to illuminate the effect of using OER as core curricula. While advocates promote the use of OER as a financially liberating model of curriculum and as a source of constructivist learning materials, more research is needed. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between OER and student learning. The study critically analyzed previous studies on OER and applied empirical analyses to the use of OER by a sample of middle schools. Twenty-eight middle schools from Washington State served as the subjects for the study. The study followed an ex post facto causal comparative model. Three research questions provided the focus for the study to investigate the effects of OER curriculum, duration of curriculum use, and other factors on student achievement in middle school mathematics. The results of the study found non-significant effects for OER use in relationship to school performance in mathematics, and significant effects on math scores for the variables of student poverty, curriculum duration, and cohort size.
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