Assessment Report Roundup

Student Cellphones

By Sarah D. Sparks — June 02, 2015 1 min read

All those teachers who collect mobile phones at the beginning of class may be onto something: A new study of English secondary students suggests student test scores rose in middle school classes that banned phones.

In a study released last month by the Center for Economic Performance at the London School for Economics and Public Policy, economists tracked the performance of students from ages 11 to 16 who attended 91 secondary schools between 2001 and 2013. After controlling for changes in student demographics at the schools during that time, the researchers compared differences in student test scores for each school before and after it restricted phones.

For high-achieving students, the researchers found no significant effects. Younger teens whose classes banned cellphones were 2 percentage points more likely to pass subject-specific national exams, called General Certificates of Secondary Education. Students who were initially low-performing were 4 percentage points more likely to pass the exams after the cellphone bans took effect.

A version of this article appeared in the June 03, 2015 edition of Education Week as Student Cellphones

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