In total, more than 25,000 students have utilized OER materials across the studies that attempted to measure results pertaining to student efficacy. These students results were compared with approximately 100,000 students using traditional textbooks. While causality was not claimed by any researcher, the use of OER was sometimes correlated with higher test scores, lower failure, or withdrawal rates. In only one efficacy study did more students do worse than did better, and even in that study the majority of students achieved the same results as their peers using traditional textbooks. Abramovich and McBride surveyed 35 college instructors and 662 students at seven colleges.

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This left only 3% of instructors who felt that the OER were less useful than other materials. Ikahihifo, Spring, Rosencrans, and Watson received responses from 206 college students who had used OER materials and compared it to typical textbooks. “A majority (54.9%, 113 students) of the participants rated the open material asexcellent.Roughly 39% considered the quality as good as a traditional text or slightly favored the quality of the OER material.

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Less than 6% considered the quality of the OER material to be less than that of a traditional textbook.” They also asked students what they did with the money saved by not spending textbooks. They report, “Of the 206 responses, 87 students (42.2%) said they reinvested in their education, 63 students (30.5%) indicated they applied it towards daily expenses, and 42 students (20.3%) said they saved the money. Additional codes such as “Spent It Anyway,” “Do Not Purchase Own Textbooks ,” and “Leisure,” were used, but these categories were relatively small (6.3%, 2.9%, and 0.97%, respectively). Jung, Bauer and Heaps report on the perceptions of faculty members who used OpenStax textbooks.

They were involved in several courses, including chemistry, first-year college experience, psychology, history, writing, business and teacher education course. In total, 86% of students rated OER as either as useful or more useful than materials used in their other courses. Only 6% of students stated that the open textbooks rarely or never helped them meet their course objectives. Faculty members were also very favorable with respect to OER. Nearly every instructor rated the OER as being either equal (40%) a little more useful (23%) or much more useful (34%) than materials they had previously used.

Thematic analysis revealed faculty perceptions of what constitutes high-quality open textbooks. The California OER Council released a white paper focused on OER adoption in CA higher education. 351 students completed a survey about their use of OER. When students were asked if the OER textbook chapter were better than the traditional, 42% said the OER textbook as better, 39% said they were about the same, 11% rated the textbook as worse than the traditional textbook and 8% declined to answer.

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This study adds significant value by focusing not simply on “OER in general,” but on a specific set of OER They survey 137 faculty and find that only 16% report taking more time preparing to teach a course using OpenStax textbooks, and that of these, 78% felt that the benefits of OpenStax were worth the additional time. In terms of quality; 81% thought that OpenStax textbooks have same or higher quality as commercial textbooks.