Friday, April 06, 2007

Software Has No Effect on K-12 Performance

Going high-tech doesn't lead to higher math and reading scores, according to a federal study. The study on the effectiveness of education technology was released by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, a research arm of the US Department of Education. The study found achievement scores were no higher in classrooms using reading and math software products than in classrooms without the new products.

Researchers looked at elementary and secondary classes in 132 schools. The teachers that participated used more than a dozen software products to help deliver their lessons. Nearly all the teachers received training on the products and believed they were well prepared to use the technology in their classrooms. When asked whether they would use the products again, nearly all teachers indicated that they would. The report was based on schools and teachers not using the products in the previous school year. Whether products are more effective when teachers have more experience using them is being examined in a follow-up study. The report detailed the effectiveness of the products as a group and did not review the performance of particular programs.

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1 comment:

cpc said...

I went through the executive summary of this study which was conducted for the National Center for Education Evaluation.

I have done a Google on this report and apparently nobody has actually read it. All news sources have repeated the conclusions of the study, but nobody has questioned it's methodology.

Technology did not replace classroom instruction, it only supplemented it.

Technology was only used 10 to 11% of the time by the treatment teachers.

Reading the news stories, one gets the impression that during the study, instruction was provided by the software product, the fact is that instruction was still provided by the regular classroom teacher.

I could have told them, before the study that using technology 10% of the time was not going to make any difference.

How much did this study cost?

Did the teachers unions design this study?

A study that I would like to see is one where the teacher becomes the coach, and curriculum is presented through technology.

This allows each student to learn at their own rate. Those who are struggling may need additional assistance, and those that grasp material can move ahead and not have to wait for rest of the class. Of course, you would still have group activities and discussions in the classroom.