A comparison in academic performance between distance and on-campus students in allied healthcare education.

Barbara L. Russell, Abebayehu Tekleselassie, Diane Turnbull, Linda Arthur, James Burnham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The primary purpose of this study was to examine the differences in background characteristics and academic performance of students in distance learning and on-campus programs in allied healthcare education at one medical university in the Eastern United States. The study depended on data from 252 students, drawn from three disciplines, clinical laboratory science, health information administration, and nuclear medicine. The study employed the chi-square test and t-test for analyzing the data. The study's findings suggested no significant differences in terms of the background characteristics of gender and previous academic performance between distance and on-campus students. However, the two groups of students differed significantly in terms of their age composition such that, as expected, distance learning students comprised the majority of older students (25 years and older) relative to their on campus counterparts. The study further showed that, when assessed in terms of their final grade point averages as well as certification pass rates, distance and on campus students were indistinguishable from each other. Similar results were found when final GPA scores within the three separate disciplines were compared and in certification scores in two out of the three disciplines. However, the certification scores of nuclear medicine technology students were found to be significantly different between the two groups, in which on-campus students earned a significantly higher score than their counterparts in the distance learning program. Administrators and educators who are considering offering distance learning as a method of degree obtainment in allied healthcare education need data, such as reported in this study, when determining if distance learning can be as effective as on-campus learning in allied healthcare education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1-e21
JournalJournal of allied health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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