[Paleopsych] BH: Computers Can Boost Kids' Test Scores

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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

    Betterhumans Staff
    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 [8]Boston College and the [9]University of
    Massachusetts at Lowell found that the more students regularly used
    computers to write papers for school, the better they performed on the
    [10]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 [11]Journal of Technology, Learning
    and Assessment ([12]read abstract).


    8. http://www.bc.edu/
    9. http://www.uml.edu/
   10. http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/
   11. http://www.bc.edu/research/intasc/jtla.html
   12. http://www.bc.edu/research/intasc/jtla/journal/v3n3.shtml

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