The effects of computer access on reading achievement
Dennis K. Jarrell, Saint Louis University, United States
Saint Louis University . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the extent of the differences in reading achievement as affected by access to varying numbers of computers with respect to one specific software application, Accelerated Reader. Achievement was measured at three intervals in the study by the computerized STAR reading assessment instrument. Both software products are produced by Advantage Learning Systems, Inc.
Approximately 120 sixth grade students and 120 seventh grade students were involved in the study. During the 1998–1999 school year each student was exposed to one semester of unlimited access to computers (one computer per student) in their reading class and one semester of limited access (two computers per classroom) to computers. Reading achievement data was gathered on each student during both treatments. The data was then analyzed by grade level using two-sample t-test for significance between like groups for all students, by gender, and by free and reduced lunch status.
No significant differences were found for any hypothesis except that males did significantly poorer with unlimited access while females scored better, but not significantly. Because of this, the data was analyzed further and additional comparisons were made between unlike groups (males compared to females with respect to differing computer access). Significance occurred with males scoring significantly better with limited computer access and significantly poorer with unlimited access. Also, females scored significantly better with unlimited computer access, and significantly poorer with limited access.
This study concluded that the benefits to be gained from Accelerated Reader can be achieved with limited computer access. Further research is needed to explore the source of the gender discrepancies.
Jarrell, D.K. The effects of computer access on reading achievement. Ph.D. thesis, Saint Louis University.
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