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Eects of the Flipped Classroom Model on Student Performance for

Advanced Placement High School Chemistry Students
David Schultz,, Stacy Dueld,*, Seth C. Rasmussen, and Justin Wageman

Davies High School, Fargo, North Dakota 58104, United States

School of Education, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota 58102, United States

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota 58102, United States
S Supporting Information

ABSTRACT: This mixed-methods study investigated the eects of the ipped

classroom on academic performance of high school advanced placement chemistry
students. Student perceptions about the approach were also studied. The control group
consisted of students from the 20112012 academic year, in which traditional teaching
methods were used. The treatment group consisted of students from the 20122013
academic year, in which the ipped classroom approach was used. Identical assessments
were administered and analyzed through both descriptive statistics and independent t
tests. A statistically signicant dierence was found on all assessments with the ipped
class students performing higher on average. In addition, most students had a favorable
perception about the ipped classroom noting the ability to pause, rewind, and review
lectures, as well as increased individualized learning and increased teacher availability.
This contribution is part of a special issue on teaching introductory chemistry in the
context of the advanced placement (AP) chemistry course redesign.
KEYWORDS: General Public, Curriculum, Computer-Based Learning, Learning Theories, Student-Centered Learning,
High School/Introductory Chemistry

Any good teacher strives to answer the question, How can I
The Flipped Classroom
According to Sams et. al.,1 the term ipped classroom
meet all of my students learning needs? However, large class describes the practice of ipping the traditional teaching
sizes, diverse learners, standards, and limited class time may approach where content is delivered in class and practice
prevent a teacher from supporting all students in reaching their problems are done at home. In a ipped classroom, students
watch lectures outside of class through the use of screencasts,
potential. Today, technological advances can take the classroom
and class time is spent engaging students through a variety of
one step closer to an answer via the ipped classroom learning activities.2 Although the ipped classroom model of
approach. This model of instruction is a pedagogical approach instruction has been popularized by Bergmann and Sams,2 its
in which direct instruction moves from the group learning use was rst reported by Eric Mazur.3 Mazur incorporated
space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group computer-based instruction to guide students through a unit
space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning outside of class time. In this model, Mazur restructured his class
environment where the educator guides students as they apply so that he was available to his physics students when he felt
concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.1 they needed him most.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the About 10 years later, the ipped classroom model began to
ipped classroom model on student performance in an take shape in two separate studies. Lage, Platt, and Treglia4
advanced placement (AP) chemistry course at the high school created the inverted classroom to reach more students of
dierent learning styles. Their inversion consisted of multi-
level. A secondary purpose was to investigate student
media (video tapes and PowerPoint lectures with recorded
perceptions about the ipped approach and related technology. sound) to be viewed outside of class in a media lab or at home.
The outcome of this study is important to educators as they Student survey results showed the participating students found
make decisions about the best ways to support student learning. the approach to be favorable over traditional teaching due to
The research questions included: increased studentinstructor interaction, more active engage-
(1) Do students in the ipped classroom perform dierently ment, and group collaboration.4 In a similar approach, a college
than students in a traditional classroom?
(2) What perceptions do students have about the ipped Special Issue: Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry
XXXX American Chemical Society and
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professor used the Internet to disseminate his lecture notes and warned educators to be mindful of the student population and
online discussion boards to extend classroom discussions.5 As a access to technology at home.16 Accommodations need to be
result of the ipped approach, students reported more personal made in advance, whether it is burning DVDs, increasing
attention, more control over their learning, and engagement in student access with ash drives, or extended use of the library.
critical thinking. Because ipping classrooms is a relatively new approach,
In 2006, Bergmann and Sams2 began using online, taped much of the current data are informal and unpublished. Stayer
lectures to reach students who were frequently absent. Soon compared the ipped and traditional method in his college-level
after, other students from their school and around the country statistics classes.5 In the ipped classes, Strayer used an
began to watch and learn as well. According to Bergmann and intelligent tutoring system (ITS) to deliver lecture content
Sams,2 the greatest achievement of the ipped classroom is not outside of class rather than self-created videos. In the
the videos but greater studentteacher rapport and freeing classroom, students worked in collaborative groups to complete
up class time to conduct higher quality and more engaging learning activities, which ranged from guided to open-ended.
activities. They went on to state2 The traditional course was delivered with PowerPoint lectures,
The time when my students really need me physically present and students were assigned problems to work on outside of the
is when they get stuck and need my individual help. They do class. According to Stayers analysis, students were less satised
not need yak at them and give them content; they can with how the structure of the ipped classroom aligned to the
receive content on their own. learning tasks.5 Stayer suggests the innovative approach will
Although an article in Chemical & Engineering News6 reported take time depending on student comfort and exposure to open-
a college general chemistry instructor found student perform- ended problem solving.
ance on exams were signicantly improved from the traditional At the secondary level, Musallam investigated the impact of
approach to the ipped approach, quantitative research is screencasts as a pretraining tool to manage the intrinsic
limited relating to the eectiveness of the ipped classroom. cognitive load, which is a students perceived level of diculty
However, numerous teachers have reported benets ranging associated with learning something.17 According to Ayres:
from improved academic performance and increased student Overloading working memory inhibits learning; and therefore,
teacher interactions to improved classroom management and working memory load must be kept at a manageable level
use of other best practices. The number one teacher-reported through instructional strategies.18 Musallam also found
benet is increased studentteacher interaction.2,4,710 By students that received pretraining performed better on their
creating more one-on-one time, students receive an educational nal assessment than those that did not.17 He suspected the
experience tailored to their individual learning style. In pretraining videos worked to lower the burden on the learners
addition, when teachers are able to build solid relationships working memory, enabling better learning.
with their students, students are more likely to trust their In another version of the ipped classroom, researchers
teachers and are motivated to do well. compared the traditional approach to a ipped approach using
Another frequently reported benet is the creation of a Khan Academy with a summer, remedial math course.8 In the
student-centered learning environment.2,4,8,11 Sparks reported ipped class, students received a mixture of traditional-teacher
that teachers saw more student engagement and accountability assistance and used Khan Academy videos for instruction; they
because it [the ipped classroom] requires students to commit then proceeded with the guided software.8 The guided software
to doing a lot more work on their own.11 When students included practice problems and assessments that guided a
became accustomed to the ipped approach, they developed an student through a mastery approach. Both the traditional and
increased sense of responsibility for their learning, and they ipped groups improved about the same amount, indicating no
worked with their teachers to achieve learning goals.8 Lage et al. major dierence. Another interesting nding from the study
also agreed with this statement reporting ...this type of was the ipped group spent an extra 23 weeks on prior
classroom demanded that students take ownership of their knowledge content, which reduced the time spent learning the
learning.4 new material. In essence, students spent less time on the tested
Three additional teacher-identied benets emerged from material and did just as well as students that did not.
the literature. First, the ipped classroom supports students
who have been absent to acquire content and skills via videos
outside of school.2 Second, dierentiation is made easier
This action research study included students in grades 1012
because the freed-up class time allows the instructor to learn who attended a high school in the upper Midwest. The school
how to accommodate to each student.12 Furthermore, videos district resides in a small city school district with a population
also supply a means of dierentiated instruction through the of about 100,000 residents. During the 20122013 school year,
use of the pause and rewind functions.2 Finally, improvements 13.25% of the high schools student population of 1,000
to classroom management have been reported. In the ipped students qualied for free or reduced lunches.
classroom model, the teacher becomes the guide on the side AP chemistry mirrors introductory chemistry at the college
and roams the class looking for ways to scaold learning.2 In level. Each year approximately 40 students take AP chemistry.
fact, at schools where ipped classrooms were implemented, Students choose to take this elective course for a variety of
administrators reported a dramatic reduction in discipline reasons, such as preparation for college, enjoyment of the
referrals and higher compliance in homework completions.13,14 sciences, further development of science knowledge and skills,
Students are less frustrated and disruptive in class because and to obtain college credit.
there is someone on hand to help one-on-one.13
Alternately, it is important to note that ipped classrooms are
not always the best approach.15 Teachers need to evaluate
learning objectives and assessments to determine if ipping the
This study employed a mixed methods approach, incorporating
classroom is the best means for instruction. Another critic both quantitative and qualitative techniques in an attempt to
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triangulate research data.19 A quasi-experimental design was nishing book problems and reading sections to be covered the
used to analyze if a statistically signicant dierence existed in following day.
academic performance on assessments between the control Preparation for the ipped classroom approach began with
group, which experienced a traditional approach, and the the unit plan. First, the learning objectives were divided into
experimental group, which experienced a ipped classroom. logical sections, which were used to build the individual
Results were analyzed with descriptive statistics and independ- screencasts. The next step involved preparation of the
ent t tests to determine if the ipped approach impacted PowerPoint lectures and corresponding notes. Each section
student performance in an AP chemistry class. began with a statement of the learning objectives, followed by
A Likert scale questionnaire was used to collect student vocabulary and a presentation of concepts and applications.
perceptions about the ipped classroom model of instruction. The students were provided with guided notes that outlined the
The questionnaire began with a statement that asked video lecture. Next, screencasts were recorded using Camtasia
individuals to respond on a continuum ranging from strongly Studio, a Bamboo annotation tablet, and a headset with
agree to strongly disagree with a neutral middle for which microphone. Editing took from 10 to 60 min and was largely
teaching model the student preferred. These results were dependent upon the amount of time the instructor had
analyzed with descriptive statistics. In addition to students available.
rating their responses, a follow-up question asked students to After students watched the video, they completed a
rationalize their choice. This research study was approved by postvideo accountability reection through Google Forms.
the Institutional Review Board. The purpose of these reections was twofold: (a) accountability
Participants for watching videos and (b) informal, formative assessment of
student understandings. A Google Form is a survey tool that
A convenience sample was drawn from 61 high school students
allows for a variety of question formats, such as multiple choice,
enrolled in an advanced placement chemistry program at a coed
free-response, rating scales, and checkboxes. The assessments
public high school. The control group included 32 students, 15
followed the same format each time, and included the
male and 17 female, who were enrolled in AP chemistry during
the 20112012 school year. Their pre-existing test-score data
were used. The treatment group included 29 of the 43 students (1) Name.
enrolled in AP chemistry during the 20122013 school year. (2) Which video did you watch? (Multiple choice list)
These students were invited to participate in the research study, (3) Summarize the video in 23 sentences. (Free response)
and 29 provided consent. To determine if the control and
treatment groups were a good t for comparison, GPA, age, and (4) Are there any topics from this section you are still fuzzy
gender distribution were considered. Table 1 provides a on or struggled with? (Free response)
Flipped classroom experiences began with the problems or
Table 1. Demographic Comparisons of Control and an activity based on the video from the previous evening; most
Treatment Group days, students were assigned to watch a screencast lecture,
which would range between 10 and 15 min. Students reported
Control Group Treatment Group
time spent on note taking would usually be twice the length of
School Year 201112 201213 the video. For example, a 10 min video would require 20 min to
Number of Participants 32 29 both watch and take notes. Following each video, students
Gender Comparisons would complete the video reection in Google Forms. In class,
Males 15 12 the rst 5 min were dedicated to reviewing the contents of the
Females 17 17 homework video and discussion of questions that came up via
Grade Comparisons the reections. The review would end with students
10th graders 1 2 summarizing the video in their own words. The remainder of
11th graders 9 12 class time, 4045 min, was spent engaging in book problems or
12th graders 22 15
a variety of other activities. While students worked, the teacher
Ethnicity Comparisons
circulated the room and assisted students. If students nished
White (not Hispanic) 28 25
early, they were able to watch that evenings video.
Asian/Pacic Islander 4 4
The two variables, academic performance and student
perceptions, were measured through assessments and a
demographic comparison of the control and treatment groups.
questionnaire. Academic performance was measured by chapter
Of the 29 students in the treatment group, 12 were male and 17
and nal exams. Each chapter test was assessed for internal
were female. The GPA for the control group was 3.61, and the
consistency with the Kuder-Richardson formula 21 (KR-21).
GPA for the treatment group was 3.71. The experimental
The closer the value is to 1.00, the more reliable the data is.
groups GPA was 3.71. Ages of participants in both groups
The resulting statistics were above 0.75 for seven of the
ranged from 15 to 18 years.
assessments and 0.66 for the chapter 89 assessment. The
Intervention same tests used with the 20112012 control group were given
During the traditional classroom experience, students received to the 201213 treatment group.
direct instruction during class, and most practical application A questionnaire was used to study treatment group
occurred at home or the end of the class period. On average, perceptions about the ipped classroom. The questionnaire
3040 min of the 50 min class period was devoted to a mix of a consisted of a rating scale based on the Likert scale. It also
lecture and discussion. The remaining time was spent on book consisted of open-ended items that allowed students to explain
problems or other learning activities. Homework consisted of their choices.
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DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS Table 3. Independent t Test Results for Group Dierences in
This study was approximately four calendar months in duration Student Performance for Male and Female Students
and included two nine-week academic grading periods. Seven Signicance (2- Mean Std. Error
chapter tests were given during this time. At the end of the df tailed)a Dierence Dierence
study, a comprehensive nal exam and the student perception Female Studentsb
questionnaire were administered. Ch 13 Test 32 0.077 3.15 1.72
The rst research question, concerning student academic Ch 4 Test 32 0.023 4.00 1.68
performance, was assessed with chapter tests and a semester Ch 5 Test 32 0.023 4.00 1.68
nal exam. Descriptive statistics and independent t test analyses Ch 7 Test 32 0.231 2.29 1.88
were conducted to determine if a dierence and direction of Ch 89 Test 32 0.029 3.88 1.70
academic performance between each group existed. The Ch 10 Test 32 0.177 2.47 1.79
descriptive statistics on the mean score comparison between Ch 11 Test 32 0.078 3.00 1.65
the traditional and ipped classroom groups are provided in the Semester 1 Final 32 0.144 2.59 1.73
Supporting Information. Table 2 presents the independent Male Studentsc
sample t tests used to assess dierences between each groups Ch 13 Test 25 0.008 4.93 1.71
average scores. Ch 4 Test 25 0.045 5.23 2.48
Ch 5 Test 25 0.041 5.23 2.42
Table 2. Independent t Test Results for Group Dierences in Ch 7 Test 25 0.023 3.92 1.62
Student Performancea Ch 89 Test 25 0.003 5.14 1.59
Ch 10 Test 25 0.001 5.36 1.37
Signicance (2- Mean Std. Error Ch 11 Test 25 0.008 5.98 2.09
df tailed)b Dierence Dierence
Semester 1 Final 25 0.014 8.68 3.28
Ch 13 Test 59 0.002 3.95 1.20 a
Statistically signicant at the 0.05 level. bN = 34. cN = 27.
Ch 4 Test 59 0.002 4.67 1.44
Ch 5 Test 59 0.018 3.08 1.26
Ch 7 Test 59 0.001 4.32 1.19 No statistical analyses were performed for 10th grade students
Ch 89 Test 59 0.002 3.76 1.16 because of a small sample size (n = 3). The descriptive statistics
Ch 10 Test 59 0.001 4.34 1.29 on the mean score comparison between the traditional and
Ch 11 Test 59 0.004 5.34 1.75 ipped classroom groups for 11th grade students are provided
Semester 1 Final 59 0.009 8.13 3.02 in the Supporting Information. Table 4 presents the
a independent t test results for 11th grade students. The means
N = 61. bStatistically signicant at the 0.05 level.
and standard deviations by grade level are presented in the
Supporting Information.
There were statistically signicant dierences (p < 0.05) in
student performance on all eight assessments between the
Table 4. Independent t Test Results for Group Dierences in
traditional group and the ipped classroom group. The ipped
Student Performance for 11th Grade Studentsa
classroom students scored higher compared to the traditional
classroom students on all eight assessments. See the Supporting Signicance (2- Mean Std. Error
Information for means and standard deviations for student df tailed)b Dierence Dierence
performance on the assessments. Ch 13 Test 17 0.000 6.55 1.51
Gender Ch 4 Test 17 0.008 7.67 2.53
Ch 5 Test 17 0.012 6.45 2.30
Additional data analyses were conducted to see if there was a Ch 7 Test 17 0.009 6.29 2.13
statistically signicant dierence in student performance Ch 89 Test 17 0.052b 5.95 2.85
between the control group and experiment group with respect Ch 10 Test 17 0.000 9.98 1.83
to gender. The descriptive statistics on the mean score Ch 11 Test 17 0.008 12.38 4.08
comparison between the traditional and ipped classroom Semester 1 Final 17 0.003 16.04 4.60
groups for male and female students is provided in the a
N = 19. bStatistically signicant at the 0.05 level.
Supporting Information. Table 3 presents the independent t
test results for the separate groups of male and female students.
See the Supporting Information for the means and standard There was a signicant dierence (p < 0.05) in student
deviation on the assessments by gender. performance between both groups for 7 out of 8 assessments.
There was a signicant dierence (p < 0.05) in student With respect to 12th grade students and instructional mode,
performance on all eight assessments between both groups. there was a signicant dierence (p < 0.05) in student
Male students in the ipped classroom scored higher than performance on 2 out of 8 assessments between both groups.
males in the traditional group. Although females in the ipped The descriptive and inferential statistics on the mean score
classroom scored higher on average, there were mixed results as comparison between the traditional and ipped classroom
to statistically signicant dierences (p < 0.05) in student groups for 12th grade students are found in the Supporting
performance between the traditional and ipped classroom Information.
groups. Student Perceptions
Grade Level The second question, concerning student perceptions about the
Additional data analyses were conducted to see if a statistically ipped classroom, was assessed through two methods. The
signicant dierence in average assessment scores between the rating scale was analyzed with descriptive statistical methods.
control group and experiment group with respect to grade level. The open-ended responses were coded independently by two
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researchers and then compared to determine consistency. 2 out of 8 assessments. Analysis of grade-level perceptions
Figure 1 summarizes the results of the survey. Responses by indicate no clear trends.
item are presented in the Supporting Information. The majority of students preferred the ipped classroom
mode of instruction compared to the traditional approach.
Favorable responses for the ipped classroom included student
ability to apply their knowledge in class with the teacher
present; ability to pause, rewind, and review video lectures; and
ability to learn at ones own pace. Students who preferred the
traditional approach reported they were more familiar with this
method, and they stated that the teacher was not available
during video lecture to answer questions. Students with no
preference reported that either method could help them learn
and apply the content.
Other student perceptions included positive and negative
aspects of the ipped classroom and advice for future teachers
considering the ipped classroom model. Positive features
included the ability to pause, rewind, and review video lectures;
learn at ones own pace; work in class with the teacher present;
the ability to stay caught up when absent; the ability to ask
questions outside of class; and a better focus with videos.
Figure 1. Reported student instructional preferences. Negative features included the teacher being unavailable during
video lectures, the videos were too long, missing a video and
would get behind, missed classroom interaction, and technol-
The majority of students preferred or strongly preferred the ogy issues. A unique negative issue reported was having two
ipped classroom model. The most frequent response in favor ipped classes created more homework. The advice students
of the ipped classroom was the ability to pause, rewind, and go have for future ipped classroom teachers is to have a blend of
back to review (12). Other favorable responses were teacher ipped and traditional instruction, be sure videos are clear and
availability to help in class (9), ability to learn at own pace (9), thorough, keep videos under 15 min in length, have a quick
class time to apply knowledge and work with classmates (6), review in class, and ensure accountability for watching the
multiple opportunities to learn the material [at home and in videos.

class] (6), ability to ask questions outside of class (4), and
ability to stay caught up when absent (3). CONCLUSIONS
Students who preferred the traditional approach to
Independent t test analyses indicated that there were
instruction had a variety of explanatory responses. The two
statistically signicant dierences in student performance on
most stated reasons were the inability to ask questions during
all assessments, supporting the notion that increasing student
video lectures (6) and being accustomed to traditional
teacher interactions2,4,710 and creating a student-centered
instruction (4). Additional responses include that the videos
learning environment2,4,7,10 will enhance student learning.
were too long (2), they focus better in class (2), and they
Increases in student performance are likely the result of three
missed class interaction (2). Interestingly, all four students with
main areas. First, student learning is put in the students
a traditional preference were female. Students with no
hands.2,4,8,11 The technology benets of being able to pause and
preference stated either method would allow them to learn
rewind their teacher to hear and see the lecture again promotes
and apply the material (3). The complete results of the survey
individualized, self-paced learning. As one student reported, I
questions are provided in the online Supporting Information.
get really embarrassed if I ask a question...when everyone else
Summary of Results seems to understand it except me. I was not embarrassed to
A statistically signicant dierence in academc performance rewind the videos because no one was there to watch me do
existed between each group. Students in the ipped classroom that. Second, students felt there were two opportunities to
group on average scored higher on unit assessments than learn the material, once via video and once during class. In a
students in the traditional classroom group. Statistically sense, this has always been the case in the traditional classroom
signicant dierences in academic performance occurred through classroom lessons and homework. However, the
between male students of the traditional and ipped classroom advantage of the ipped classroom is students were able to
groups. Flipped classroom males performed higher than integrate and apply their knowledge in the classroom.9 Third,
traditional ones on all eight assessments. Female students by moving direct instruction outside of the classroom, more
showed less statistically signicant dierences in academic time is created in the classroom for additional teacher
performance, with dierences occurring on only 3 out of 8 support.2,4,710 A student explained, I nd it more benecial
assessments. A common theme of traditional preference and to do the problems in class because I can ask the teacher
negative perceptions for the ipped classroom was also more questions if I dont understand something.
common for female students. Statistically signicant dierences Data analyses uncovered two unexpected results. First, male
in acadmeic performance occurred between 11th grade students students performed better as a result of the ipped classroom as
of the traditional and ipped classroom groups on 7 out of 8 compared to female students. Second, 11th grade students
assessments. Eleventh-grade students performed higher in the scored higher; whereas, little to no statistically signicant
ipped classroom than those in a traditional classroom. dierences were found for 12th grade students. This particular
Twelfth-grade students showed little statistically signicant nding was dicult to pinpoint because the qualitative data did
dierences in academic performance, only performing better on not have any trends with respect to grade level. The 12th grade
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Corresponding Author
The authors declare no competing nancial interest.

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