Individual Student Characteristics: Can any be predictors of success in online classes?

Amy Wojciechowski
Louann Palmer




Various student characteristics were examined to determine their relationship to student grades
(i.e., success) in an online undergraduate business course, including: (1) gender, (2) age, (3)
previous courses completed online, (4) American College Testing (ACT) English Scores, (5)
ACT Reading Scores, (6) ACT Composite Scores, (7) Assessment of Skills for Successful Entry
and Transfer (ASSET) Reading Scores, (8) ASSET Writing Scores, (9) grade point average, (10)
previous withdrawal from other courses, (11) semester format (16-week versus 8-week), (12) student status (full-time vs. part-time), and (13) attendance at an orientation session.
Data were collected from students taking an online business course offered through a small, rural community college in western Michigan . The population included all 179 students registered for this course beginning with fall semester 2000 through summer semester 2003, for a total of nine
different semesters. The same instructor using the same textbook offered all courses, providing instructional consistency across three years of courses.
Grade point average was found to have the strongest connection.
The second greatest factor was that of having attended an orientation session for the class.
The third strongest correlation involves the number of previous withdrawals from other classes.
The fourth strongest correlation was between a student's ASSET Reading scores and their final grade in the on-line course.
There was also a positive and statistically significant relationship between previous online
courses and the grade in the course (the fifth most significant).

APA Citation

Wojciechowski, A., & Palmer, L. B. (2005). Individual student characteristics: Can any be predictors of success in online classes. Online journal of distance learning administration, 8(2), 13.

About the Study

Links to Article
Mode Online
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design Experiments
Intervention/Areas of Study Student readiness
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined Undergraduates
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics Professions
Outcome Variables of Interest Academic achievement or performance, including assessment scores and course grades
Student Sample Size 100-199
Citing Articles,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en