Education Report Roundup

Television Viewing Seen to Have Positive Effects

By Jessica L. Tonn — February 28, 2006 1 min read

Exposure to television before preschool can result in higher student achievement later in life, a research report suggests.

“Does Television Rot Your Brain? New Evidence From the Coleman Study” is available from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The analysis—by Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro, both professors in the graduate school of business at the University of Chicago—draws on the late James S. Coleman’s study of the test scores of more than 300,000 students who were ages 11, 14, and 17 in 1965. The authors found that an additional year of exposure to television viewing before preschool positively affected children’s reading and general-knowledge scores. The benefit was especially seen for children from households where English was not the primary language, for nonwhite children, and for those whose mothers had not graduated from high school.

Early-childhood exposure to TV did not negatively affect high school graduation rates.