March 2008


Karen L. Parker

Primary Subject Area

Education, Adult and Continuing; Education, Higher; Education, Technology


nontraditional online students, online education


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between selected variables (age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, financial assistance, student status, number of previous online courses, current online course load) and grade achievement of nontraditional, online students at a selected theological institution. Students who received a grade of A, B, or C were categorized as passing or successfully completing the online courses. Students who received a grade of D, F, W, WD, WP, or WF were categorized as failing or not completing the on line courses. Data for the study was collected from the institution’s enrollment/student database. The participants in the study consisted of 899 students who enrolled in 37 online courses offered by the institution during the Spring 2007 semester. Logistic regression and descriptive analysis were used to analyze the data and determine which variables significantly impacted grade achievement for nontraditional, online students. The findings from the study showed that three of the independent variables (age, ethnicity, and number of previous online courses) were predictors of grade of achievement (p < .05) for the nontraditional, online students included in this study. These findings are congruent with previous research which also found that these variables could predict whether or not students would be successful in completing online courses. Findings from the study also indicated that age and number of previous online courses had a positive correlation with the dependent variable, grades. These research findings indicated that as the age of students increase, the odds of students passing an online course will also increase. Similarly, as the number of online courses previously taken increases, the odds of students passing an online course will also increase.