Putting Computerized Instruction to the Test: A Randomized Evaluation of a "Scientifically-Based" Reading Program
50 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2010 Last revised: 5 Jan 2012
Date Written: February 2004
Although schools across the country are investing heavily in computers in the classroom, there is surprisingly little evidence that they actually improve student achievement. In this paper we present results from a randomized study of a well-defined use of computers in schools: a popular instructional computer program, known as Fast ForWord, which is designed to improve language and reading skills. We assess the impact of the program using four different measures of language and reading ability. Our estimates suggest that while use of the computer program may improve some aspects of students' language skills, it does not appear that these gains translate into a broader measure of language acquisition or into actual reading skills.
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