Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Human Services

First Advisor

Lisa Newland


Secondary students from a mid-sized school district in the rural Midwest who had chosen an asynchronous learning environment during the COVID-19 pandemic were analyzed to determine predictors of academic achievement and perceptions of their learning during the pandemic. An explanatory, mixed methods case study was conducted to sequentially analyze quantitative data and qualitatively analyze their experiences. Archival data from 288 students [F(7, 281) = 20.87, p < .001] was used predict grade point average (GPA) during virtual learning (M = 2.43, SD = 0.89) using a multiple linear regression (R2 = .326). This study was done to determine what factors help educators understand the variables that aide in student achievement while virtual learning. Predictor variables included race/ethnicity, sex, socioeconomic status, grade level, past attendance, past GPA, and number of parents/guardians in the home. Significant predictors were grade level, past GPA (M = 3.05), and sex. The focus of the qualitative research was on access to technology, digital literacy, attitude, motivation, and social connectedness prior to, during, and post-virtual learning. Four themes emerged. Results from this study suggest that schools should consider the type of virtual environment they provide, instructional design that includes social interaction, and professional development for staff prior to implementation of a virtual learning environment to increase achievement.

Subject Categories

Educational Technology | Secondary Education


academic achievement, asynchronous, COVID-19, grade point average, technology, virtual learning

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



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