Technology's Edge: The Educational Benefits of Computer-Aided Instruction

69 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2008

See all articles by Lisa Barrow

Lisa Barrow

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Lisa Markman

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section

Cecilia E. Rouse

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2007

Abstract

Because a significant portion of U.S. students lacks critical mathematic skills, schools across the country are investing heavily in computerized curriculums as a way to enhance education output, even though there is surprisingly little evidence that they actually improve student achievement. In this paper we present results from a randomized study in three urban school districts of a well-defined use of computers in schools: a popular instructional computer program which is designed to teach pre-algebra and algebra. We assess the impact of the program using statewide tests that cover a range of math skills and tests designed specifically to target pre-algebra and algebra skills. We find that students randomly assigned to computer-aided instruction score at least 0.17 of a standard deviation higher on a pre-algebra/algebra test than students randomly assigned to traditional instruction. We hypothesize that the effectiveness arises from increased individualized instruction as the effects appear larger for students in larger classes and those in classes in which students are frequently absent.

Keywords: education, computers, student achievement

JEL Classification: I2, J0

Suggested Citation

Barrow, Lisa and Markman, Lisa and Rouse, Cecilia E., Technology's Edge: The Educational Benefits of Computer-Aided Instruction (November 2007). FRB of Chicago Working Paper No. 2007-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1083781 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1083781

Lisa Barrow (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago ( email )

230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604
United States
312-322-5073 (Phone)
312-322-2357 (Fax)

Lisa Markman

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States

Cecilia E. Rouse

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4042 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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