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Does It Compute? The Relationship between Educational Technology and Student Achievement in Mathematics.

Wenglinsky, Harold

Abstract: This report presents findings from a national study of the relationship between different uses of educational technology and various educational outcomes. Data were drawn from the 1996 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in mathematics, consisting of national samples of 6,227 fourth graders and 7,146 eighth graders. Data include information on the frequency of computer use for mathematics in school, access to computers at home and in school, professional development of mathematics teachers in computer use, and the kinds of instructional uses of computers in the schools. The study finds that the greatest inequities in computer use are not in how often they are used, but in the ways in which they are used. Poor , urban, and rural students are less likely to be exposed to higher order uses of computers than nonpoor and suburban students. For both fourth and eighth grades, teachers of urban and rural students are less likely to have had professional development in technology than suburban teachers. There were few differences in the frequency of school computer use in either grade, although black fourth graders reported more frequent use than white fourth graders. Yet for both grades, black students were less likely to have a computer at school. In essence, the study found that technology could matter, but that this depended on how it was used. The size of the relationship between the various positive uses of technology and academic achievement was negligible for fourth graders, but substantial for eighth graders. Taken together, findings indicate that computers are neither a cure-all for problems facing the schools nor mere fads without impact on student learning. When used properly, computers may serve as important tools for improving student proficiency in mathematics and the overall learning environment of the school. An appendix discusses how the study was conducted. (Contains 2 tables, 14 figures, and 23 references.) (SLD)

Title: Does It Compute? The Relationship between Educational Technology and Student Achievement in Mathematics.
Author: Wenglinsky, Harold
Note: 41p.
Publication Year: 1998
Document Type: Research Report (143)
Target Audience: Practitioners
ERIC Identifier: ED425191
Available from: Policy Information Center, Mail Stop 04-R, Educational Testing Service, Rosedale Road, Princeton, NJ 08541-0001; Tel: 609-734-5694; e-mail:; Website: ($9.50).
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Descriptors: Access to Information; * Computer Uses in Education; * Educational Technology; * E lementary School Students; Grade 4; Grade 8; Intermediate Grades; Junior High Schools; * Mathematics Achievement; Mathematics Education; Middle Schools; * Outco mes of Education; Poverty; Professional Development; Rural Schools; Suburban Schools; * Technological Advancement; Urban Schools

Identifiers: Middle School Students; National Assessment of Educational Progress

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