Ed-Tech Policy Report Roundup

Computers and Learning

By Katie Ash — January 06, 2009 | Corrected: February 22, 2019 1 min read

Corrected: A previous version of this story gave an incorrect title of the paper, it is “Scaling the Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achievement.”

Students who gain access to an Internet-equipped computer at home between the 5th and 8th grades often experience a decline in reading and mathematics scores, says a paper written by three researchers at Duke University, in Durham, N.C.

Using data gathered from a survey given to 1 million 5th to 8th graders in North Carolina between 2000 and 2005, the researchers found that students who did not have access to a computer at home had the highest scores on reading and math assessments. Among the students who had home computers, those who reported using them twice a month or less had the best scores.

The researchers found that the Internet was the most productive, in terms of student achievement, in homes where students had effective parental supervision of their computer activities.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 07, 2009 edition of Education Week

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