[Paleopsych] BH: Computers Can Boost Kids' Test Scores
checker at panix.com
Tue Apr 12 19:46:42 UTC 2005
Computers Can Boost Kids' Test Scores
But different uses have different effects, and not all are positive
1/31/2005 2:52 PM
Using computers can boost kids' test scores, but it all depends on
what they're using the computers to do.
Analyzing test performance and computer uses of 986 fourth grade
students from 55 classrooms in nine Massachusetts school districts,
researchers from Boston College and the University of
Massachusetts at Lowell found that the more students regularly used
computers to write papers for school, the better they performed on the
Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS)
English/Language Arts exam. (Students weren't allowed to use computers
for the test, which could have complicated the findings.)
Recreational use of computers to do such things as play video games
and surf the Internet, however, was negatively associated with MCAS
writing scores, as was creating PowerPoint presentations, showing that
how kids use computers is just as important as how often.
"Specifically, this study finds that students' use of computers
throughout the writing process had a statistically significant
positive effect on MCAS writing scores," says the study's director,
Michael Russell of Boston College. "Using computers simply to type in
final drafts of essays, however, had no effect on students' test
performance. These findings are consistent with past research and
demonstrate the importance of allowing students to use computers to
produce rough drafts, edit their papers, and to produce final drafts."
Recreational use of computers may negatively affect scores because it
distracts from reading, the researchers suggest. Creating PowerPoint
presentations may negatively affect scores because students spend more
time on multimedia aspects of presentations than on writing aspects.
The researchers say that the study provides evidence that students'
computer use impacts their achievement as measured by tests such as
MCAS, which is important as standardized testing is becoming
increasingly important in the education system.
The research is reported in the Journal of Technology, Learning
and Assessment (read abstract).
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