Studies Show Flipped Classrooms May Lead to Higher Test Scores

In 2012, flipped classrooms hit a stride of popularity as more teachers began testing them out—some schools even completely switched to a flipped model. Four years later, we are looking into the benefits of these flipped classrooms and asking the question, “Was the switch worth it?”

In a flipped classroom setting, the traditional order of activities is inverted. Students watch pre-recorded videos from the teacher or other sources at home. These videos are the lecture they would otherwise be sitting through in class. Then, in class, students work on what would be their homework. This gives students the opportunity to ask questions about what they didn’t understand and get immediate feedback. It also gives the teacher the opportunity to have more one-on-one time with students that need extra help.

According to LearnDash, 48 percent of teachers tried out a flipped classroom in 2012. That number rose to 78 percent in 2014. 96 percent of polled teachers said they would recommend the flipped method.

While flipped classrooms seem to be universally loved, not everyone is ready to advocate for them. Jonathan Rees of The Daily Dot considers them to be “professional suicide” for teachers and professors. “In the name of efficiency, convenience, data collection, or perhaps simple laziness, professors are using the Internet in general and the flipped classroom technique in particular to ‘unbundle’ themselves,” says Rees. He also brings up the issue of what other students will be doing in class if a teacher is busy interacting one-on-one with students that need that extra time.

Many professors disagree with Rees, opting for the flipped method. Researchers at Purdue University put together a three year evaluation of the flipped classroom format. A flipped classroom was implemented in the chemistry majors’ sequence at the university. The results were overwhelmingly positive, both in standardized test scores and student feedback of the courses. “Three years of results using ACS standardized exams showed that students’ ACS general chemistry exam scores in the flipped class were significantly higher by almost one standard deviation when compared with the students’ previous scores in the traditional class.”

International universities are taking advantage of the teaching model as well. One hundred and thirty first-year medical students at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) in Pondicherry, India were immersed into a flipped classroom format in their clinical neuro-anatomy courses.

86 percent of these students felt this format better fulfilled the stated learning objectives than a traditional teaching approach would. The study cites flipped classrooms as “a feasible and necessary move to educate students to reinvent their classrooms in a way that empowers students to develop higher order cognitive skills and to engage in meaningful learning that will ultimately improve the delivery of health care.”

While flipped classrooms are proving to be effective at universities, this might not be the case for all high schools. Flipped classrooms utilize the technology that students have available to them at home. At universities, this does not pose much of an issue as they have libraries and computers for the students to use. However, flipped classrooms can be a problem for high school students of lower socioeconomic status. If they don’t have the resources available to them to watch the required videos, it can further alienate them from their peers and they will not have the opportunity to reap the benefits of the flipped teaching method.

The success of flipped classrooms is undeniably situational, but the results remain positive. The majority of teachers and students found the model valuable to the educational environment. Through an integration of online and face-to-face learning, the ability to meet course objectives is optimized.

Hannah Flynn

Hannah Flynn

Hannah is a Boston-based writer who hails from Ohio. She has recently become interested in photography and loves taking portraits. You can normally find her curating her Instagram feed and eating all things carbs.