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This report analyzes computer usage in the classrooms of teachers who are at least moderately well-prepared in the use of computers for reading instruction. Data from the 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) database were used to analyze the influence of computers on academic achievement. The NAEP, which is administered in 4th, 8th, and 12th grade, provides test scores as well as background information on students, their teachers, and their school administrators. This analysis considered the effect of computers in the classroom by analyzing six factors: frequent in-class computer use by trained teachers; race and ethnicity; parents' educational attainment; number of reading materials in the home; free or reduced-price lunch participation; and gender. Results indicate that students with at least weekly computer instruction by well-prepared teachers do not perform any better on the NAEP reading test than do students who have less or no computer instruction. Variables such as race, income, home environment, and parents' college attendance are all significant factors in explaining differences in reading test scores. Girls score slightly higher than boys on the NAEP reading exam in 4th and 8th grade. An appendix presents results of the statistical models. (SM)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Computer Uses in Education, Elementary Secondary Education, National Competency Tests, Public Schools, Reading Achievement, Reading Instruction, Sex Differences, Teaching Methods

Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 202-546-4400; Web site:

Autor: Johnson, Kirk A.


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