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Small group instruction and mathematics achievement in an online school environment
Growth in mathematics achievement for students enrolled in online schools has been slow and not at the level of proficiency on standardized tests. Studies have shown a consensus for more research in best practices of effective teaching strategies for online educators. Additionally, research shows students enrolled in online schools who have consistent interaction with their teachers and peers throughout a mathematics course are more positive in their self-reflections and have higher end of course and standardized test scores. Building on the existing knowledge regarding mathematics achievement in online education, the question investigated was: What are the effects of synchronous group instruction on the mathematics achievement of fifth grade students who receive their instruction online? In this context, synchronous group instruction is defined as instruction happening between the teacher and students at the same time, but at different locations. The control group, during the 2017/2018 academic year, did not receive the small group instruction. The treatment group, during the 2018/2019 academic year, received small group instruction in 30 minute sessions, held once every other week throughout the school year. Analysis of the results showed fifth grade students who received synchronous group instruction online outperformed the fifth grade students who did not receive synchronous group instruction online. The results suggest that the online synchronous group instruction has a positive effect on fifth grade achievement in mathematics.