Practice is an essential component in learning any new skill. For learning the quantitative disciplines at the university level, web-based homework management systems provide the means for extensive practice with immediate feedback, which research suggests should lead to increased student learning (Palocsay & Stevens, 2008; Titard, DeFranceschi, & Knight, 2014). Do web-based homework management systems improve student learning, as measured by exam scores, for adult learners in an online course? Does the use of simple Microsoft Excel-based homework templates relate to improved student exam scores? This natural experiment divided a sample of 2431 online students in an entry level university economics course into three treatment groups to look at the relationship between homework support and exam scores. Group A received no formal homework support. Group B got simple Microsoft Excel templates. Group C got an online homework management system with custom e-textbook. This study compares learning effectiveness of the three treatment approaches based on student exam scores. The results show that mean exam scores increased from 55.29% to 68.24%, with the addition of a web-based homework management system. Additionally, 74.52% of variance in exam scores was explained by variance in homework scores under the web-based homework management system that allowed three attempts on every question. This strong relationship suggests that practice provided by the web-based homework management system is correlated with increased student learning as evidenced by the increased exam scores.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
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