Does the method of instruction affect the performance of sailors in the Tuition Assistance program?


This study analyzes the impact of the Navy's Tuition Assistance (TA) program on the retention and performance of first-term navy enlisted personnel by method of instruction. This study is unique in that it estimates the effect of overall TA usage as well as the effect of courses delivered via Distance Learning (DL) versus courses delivered via traditional methods of instruction. In 2006 DL surpassed traditional classroom courses as the most commonly used form of TA. DL usage grew 1000% between FY 2000 and 2007 while traditional classroom usage dropped by 29%. This study utilizes a natural control group as proposed by Mehay and Pema (2009) to produce estimates that adjust for potential selection bias in the retention and performance models. Further, the study includes nine accession cohorts between 1994 and 2003 to increase the generalizability of the results. The recruits are tracked through their first four years of service. The analysis indicates that DL usage has greater positive effects on the performance of sailors than traditional classes. Additionally, the study finds that the course passing rates depend on the subject and method of delivery. In particular, certain courses delivered via DL are associated with lower passing rates for TA-users. Navy (USN) author.Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited

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Calhoun, Institutional Archive of the Naval Postgraduate School

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