Measures of student success with textbook transformations: the Affordable Learning Georgia Initiative

Emily Croteau


In 2014, the state of Georgia’s budget supported a University System of Georgia (USG) initiative: Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG). The initiative was implemented via Textbook Transformation Grants, which provided grants to USG faculty, libraries and librarians, and institutions to “transform their use of textbooks and other learning materials into using lower cost options”, in other words to use open educational resources (OER) in lieu of a traditional bound textbook. The Round One Textbook Transformation Grants have already shown to be successful in that they saved students approximately $760,000.  What is not known, is the collective impact on student learning. This study examines the learning gains or losses pre- and post-transformation in ALG Round One courses where traditional resources were replaced with OER.  It estimates differences between pre- and post- textbook transformation across the following outcomes: 1) Drop Fail Withdraw (DFW) rates, 2) rates of completion, 3) numbers of students receiving a final grade of A or B, C and D, 4) numerical final grades as a percent, 5) final exam grades as a percent, and, 6) course-specific assessment grades measured in percent. Twenty-four data sets were analyzed for DFW rate, eight data sets for completion rate, fourteen data sets for grade distribution, three data sets for final exam grades, three data sets for course specific assessment and one data set for final grades. The null hypothesis that there would be no differences between pre- and post-transformation rates in these learning outcomes was supported.  Thus, this study demonstrates that the USG’s ALG initiative helped students save money without negatively impacting learning outcomes. In addition, it is the first of its kind to measure some of these learning outcomes (e.g. final exam grade, assessment grade, and distribution of letter grades) at this scale. 


Open Educational Resources; Affordable Learning Georgia; textbook transformation; learning outcomes; higher education

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