Skip Navigation

National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance


Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products: Findings from the First Student Cohort
NCEE 2007-4005
March 2007

Report to Congress

The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance produced this major study of the effectiveness of education technology. Mandated by Congress, the report uses scientifically based research methods and control groups to focus on the impact of technology on student academic achievement. The main findings of the study are:

  • Test scores were not significantly higher in classrooms using the reading and mathematics software products than those in control classrooms. In each of the four groups of products-reading in first grade and in fourth grade, mathematics in sixth grade, and high school algebra-the evaluation found no significant differences in student achievement between the classrooms that used the technology products and classrooms that did not.
  • There was substantial variation between schools regarding the effects on student achievement. Although the study collected data on many school and classroom characteristics, only two characteristics were related to the variation in reading achievement. For first grade, effects were larger in schools that had smaller student-teacher ratios (a measure of class size). For fourth grade, effects were larger when treatment teachers reported higher levels of use of the study product.

Thirty-three districts, 132 schools, and 439 teachers participated in the study. Sixteen products were selected for the study based on public submissions and ratings by a study team and expert review panels.