Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Arthur Hernandez


James Simpson


Jacquelyn Poplawsky Ortiz


In spring 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced educational systems to transition into an emergency remote learning modality. This quantitative study compared retention and productive grade rates of two 16-week academic semesters and compared face-to-face (fall 2019) and remote (fall 2020) emergency remote instruction. The study sample was drawn from the core courses of History, English, and Speech at San Antonio College. Those courses were selected in part due to the high proportion of first time in college students who were considered a vulnerable population regarding performance and persistence. Additional variables (i.e., gender, veteran status, first-generation status, and socio-economic status) were examined to determine whether they were predictors of either productive grade rate or retention. The findings suggested no difference between productive grade rates but higher retention in the face-to-face semester. The findings also indicated that gender (female) was predictive in both modalities, but no other variables were. At a minimum, those results suggested the importance of local assessment of predictors of student success in general, and when making decisions related to remote learning in particular. Finally, results of this study suggested that despite concerns regarding the scholastic impact on students and faculty forced into emergency remote instruction, that did not adversely affect student outcomes.