An evaluation of the impact of educational technology on elementary-level student achievement in reading and writing
Patrick J. McAleer, Widener University, United States
Doctor of Education, Widener University . Awarded
In the last quarter century, computers have revolutionized modern life in nearly all aspects; this has been especially true in education. In recent years, students and teachers have enjoyed increased access to computers, related hardware and software, and online information.
Of particular concern to this researcher is the question of how instructional technology impacts the achievement of elementary school students in reading and writing. The study examines the language arts achievement of two groups of students in a suburban school district in southern New Jersey from 2003 to 2006. The treatment group (sample size = 31 students) enjoyed a technology-rich classroom environment and the presence of a technology specialist in their language arts classes as a complement to the regular curriculum during grades 4 and 5; the control group (sample size = 38 participants) did not. The researcher analyzes the performance of students in both groups on standardized assessments of reading and writing. Additionally, the researcher explores gender differences in achievement in a technology-rich classroom. Student performance on the reading and writing subtests of the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge and the Terra Nova/CTBS Multiple Assessments Plus – Level 15 were used to determine levels of achievement.
While no educationally meaningful differences in achievement were found between the two groups, the researcher suggests that this study supports the findings of others that suggest that standardized tests are ill-equipped to measure the specific benefits that students glean from learning in technology-infused settings. The researcher also suggests that this study is unusual in its evaluation of a comprehensive, multi-tiered approach to technology integration that included intensive professional development and mentoring of teachers and the use of multiple forms of technology, including computer hardware and software, online resources, and peripheral devices. Finally, the researcher offers recommendations to policymakers and practitioners in terms of technology integration, as well as suggestions for further study.
McAleer, P.J. An evaluation of the impact of educational technology on elementary-level student achievement in reading and writing. Doctor of Education thesis, Widener University.
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