Are Schools Getting a Big Enough Bang for Their Education Technology BuckReport as inadecuate

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Center for American Progress

Far too often, school leaders fail to consider how technology might dramatically improve teaching and learning, and schools frequently acquire digital devices without discrete learning goals and ultimately use these devices in ways that fail to adequately serve students, schools, or taxpayers. Because of a growing debate concerning spending on education technology, the Center for American Progress (CAP) decided to look closely at the issue of how students used technology and the return that educators were getting on their technology investment. In conducting this examination, they relied on one of the richest sources of national student survey data--the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP--and conducted an analysis of the 2009 and 2011 background surveys. Known as the Nation's Report Card, the NAEP assessments are administered every two years by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, and the exams serve as a way to benchmark student performance. In addition, CAP conducted a state-by-state survey of the websites of state departments of education during the first two weeks of February 2013 to see if states had conducted any evaluation of the return on their school-technology investment. Key findings included: (1) Students often use technology for basic skills; (2) States are not looking at what sort of outcomes they are getting for their technology spending; and (3) Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to have access to more rigorous STEM-learning opportunities. It concludes with recommendations for policymakers, schools, and advocates. Appended are state-by-state figures showing the percent of eighth-grade math students who regularly use a computer program for drills on math facts, new lessons on problem solving, spreadsheets for math assignments, statistical programs for math class, word programs for math class, and work with geometric shapes. [The analysis in this report grew out of "Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Educational Innovation" a joint project of the Center for American Progress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute.]

Descriptors: Technology Uses in Education, Educational Technology, Outcomes of Education, National Surveys, Student Surveys, National Competency Tests, Basic Skills, Educational Finance, Expenditures, Access to Education, STEM Education, Access to Computers, Disadvantaged, Middle School Students, High School Students, State Departments of Education, Elementary Secondary Education, Grade 8

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Author: Boser, Ulrich


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