Norwich University's online MBA students outperform 70-95% of traditional MBA students across the nation

online learningEducational Testing Services (ETS), the largest testing organization in the world, chose Norwich University's MBA program as its sole online program test site for the development of the online version of its nationally publicized MBA Field Test. ETS is the provider of the SAT, GMAT, GRE, CLEP, TOEFL, and other major exams.

Norwich University's MBA students recently took the Field Test in place of their normal program-end comprehensive exam. The Field Test is administered to students enrolled in over fifty MBA programs nationwide - all traditional, face-to-face programs, with the exception of Norwich. The results are in, and Norwich MBA students are outperforming 70-95% of traditional MBA students as determined by their scores on the ETS exam. Norwich students scored better than 95% of all students tested in Management, 85% of all students tested in Accounting, and 70% of all students tested in Finance, Marketing, and Strategy.

According to Dr. Fred Snow, vice president and dean of online graduate programs at Norwich, the results will most likely have significant repercussions in the education industry in the next year, sparking more debate about the efficacy of online environments.

"Such debate is certainly in keeping with the spirit of innovation that Partridge brought to the national education system back in 1819," said Snow.

In general, studies have shown that online learning produces about the same level of outcomes as in-class learning, but in less time.

The MBA Field Test is an outcomes assessment exam designed to measure students' academic achievement, critical thinking, and reasoning in the subject field. In addition, institutions use the tests to assess their own educational outcomes and to evaluate the curricula of their major programs. And finally, the ETS MBA provides students and employers with a measure of their own level of achievement within a field of study compared to national data. It seeks to answer the question: Which programs are really delivering what they say they do?

"The fact that ETS chose Norwich as the testing site for their online education exam is a tribute to the visibility and respect that our program has in the online industry," Snow said. "And to have the results turn out as well as they did is a tribute to our students, instructors, curriculum and delivery system."

Last August, sixty-three members of the first Online MBA graduating class received their masters' degrees. Currently there are 214 MBA students enrolled nationwide.

pubrel@norwich.edu, February 2004

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