MIT-study looked at the long term effects of flipped classroom: any benefit quickly faded and it made the achievement gap worse.

I posted about a recent meta-analysis on flipped classroom a few months ago. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t new studies being published. The good thing of this RCT is that they also looked at the long term effects. And while the short term effects seemed positive, the story rapidly changes:

The results of our experiment show that the flipped classroom can generate large learning gains in a short period of time and that implementation quality, instructor preferences, and student engagement likely play key roles in its effectiveness. We find substantial short term effects in Math and null effects for Economics. Suggestive evidence points to a few potential explanations. First, instructors who preferred teaching the flipped classroom generated larger effects, suggesting that instructor interest contributes to the success of new pedagogical models. Second, we find higher levels of student engagement in Math relative to Economics: Math instructors report higher rates of students paying attention, asking questions, and working in groups and independently in class relative to the Math control group and the Economics treatment group. Also, Math students rate the video more useful than Economics students. Survey data also show that the Math classrooms increased student engagement and student-teacher interactions more than the Economics classrooms – so perhaps those aspects are important for an effective flipped classroom implementation.

Despite the short term effects in Math, we find no longer term gains in learning and the flipped classroom exacerbates the achievement gap instead of reducing it. Short term gains in Math are concentrated among male, white, and high achieving students. The flipped classroom has a 69 percent larger racial achievement gap and a 23 percent larger baseline academic ability achievement gap than the standard lecture and these differences persist through the final exam. Combined, these findings suggests educators should exercise caution when implementing the flipped classroom.

Abstract of the study:

In a flipped classroom, an increasingly popular pedagogical model, students view a video lecture at home and work on exercises with the instructor during class time. Advocates of the flipped classroom claim the practice not only improves student achievement, but also ameliorates the achievement gap. We conduct a randomized controlled trial at West Point and find that the flipped classroom produced short term gains in Math and no effect in Economics, but that the flipped model broadened the achievement gap: effects are driven by white, male, and higher achieving students. We find no long term average effects on student learning, but the widened achievement gap persists. Our findings demonstrate feasibility for the flipped classroom to induce short term gains in student learning; however, the exacerbation of the achievement gap, the effect fade-out, and the null effects in Economics suggest that educators should exercise caution when considering the model.

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