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Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Educational Technology Interventions

Contract Information

Current Status:

This study has been completed.

Duration:

September 2003 – February 2009

Cost:

$14,500,000

Contract Number:

ED-01-CO-0039/0007

Contractor(s):

Mathematica Policy Research
SRI International

Contact:

The Enhancing Education Through Technology program was authorized under Title II, Part D of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act and funded at $267.5 million in Fiscal Year 2008. The primary purpose of the program was to improve student achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools. Grants were awarded to states based on their proportionate share of Title I, Part A funds. This evaluation, mandated by Congress, focused on assessing the impacts of reading and math technology programs that were appropriate for funding under this program.

  • Did the use of educational technology improve student achievement in reading and/or mathematics?
  • Under what conditions and practices did the use of educational technology improve student achievement in reading and/or mathematics?

Teachers who volunteered to participate in the study were randomly assigned to use a given educational technology product or to a business-as-usual control group. Sixteen educational technology products intended to improve student academic achievement in reading and/or mathematics were competitively selected for this study. These products targeted four combinations of subjects and grade levels: reading in 1st grade, reading in 4th grade, mathematics in 6th grade, and algebra in 9th grade. The products were implemented in schools during the 2004–05 school year. During the 2005–06 school year, the same teachers used 10 of the educational technology products with a second cohort of students. The impact of the educational technology products on reading or mathematics achievement was estimated through standard experimental methods in order to address the study's research questions.

  • After one school year, there were no statistically significant impacts of the educational technology products on student achievement for each of the four groups: 1st grade reading, 4th grade reading, 6th grade mathematics, 9th grade algebra.
  • After two school years, the impacts for 1st and 4th grade reading products were no different from the impacts after one school year. For the 6th grade mathematics products, impacts worsened after the second year of implementation. For the 9th grade algebra products, impacts improved after the second year of implementation.
  • When examining the individual impacts of the 10 educational technology products that were implemented for two student cohorts, only one product (LeapTrack for 4th grade reading) had a statistically significant positive impact on student achievement.

The final report, titled Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products: Findings From Two Student Cohorts, was released in February 2009.

Other publications from this study are listed below.

A restricted-use file containing de-identified data is available for the purposes of replicating study findings and secondary analysis.