Report from University of Georgia on research that looks at how courses using OER impact student success and academic achievement.
The report is based around three questions:
1) What is the impact of OER textbooks on student academic performance, quantified by evaluating final grades and DFW (D, F and withdrawal letter grades) rates?
2) Does the use of OER textbooks affect students from a low socioeconomic background (quantified by Federal Pell Grant eligibility status) disproportionately compared to students who do not qualify for Federal Pell Grant status?
3) Does student performance increase significantly for those from underserved populations when a free OER textbook is used instead of a traditional textbook?
The reports' conclusion "suggests" OER is an equity strategy for higher education though they do realise further work is required. But basically, by providing all students with access to course materials on the first day you help to level the academic playing field.
Report available here.