WWC review of this study

The impact of computer usage on academic performance: Evidence from a randomized trial at the United States Military Academy (SEII Discussion Paper #2016.02).

Carter, S. P., Greenberg, K., & Walker, M. (2016). Cambridge, MA: School Effectiveness & Inequality Initiative.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    711
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: February 2017

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Academic achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Final exam: Multiple choice and short answer questions

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access

1 Semester

Full sample;
711 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
7
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Final exam test score: Short answer

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access in classrooms: Tablet only

1 Semester

Full sample;
466 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
9

Final exam test score

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access

1 Semester

Non-White;
244 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
9

Final exam test score: Short answer

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access

1 Semester

Full sample;
711 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
8

Final exam test score

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access

1 Semester

Male;
580 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
8

Final exam test score

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access in classrooms: Unrestricted use

1 Semester

Full sample;
507 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
7

Final exam test score

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access in classrooms: Tablet only

1 Semester

Full sample;
466 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
7

Final exam test score: Short answer

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access in classrooms: Unrestricted use

1 Semester

Full sample;
507 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
7

Final exam test score

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access

1 Semester

White;
467 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
7

Final exam test score: Multiple choice

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access

1 Semester

Full sample;
711 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
6

Final exam test score: Multiple choice

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access in classrooms: Unrestricted use

1 Semester

Full sample;
507 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
6

Final exam test score: Multiple choice

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access in classrooms: Tablet only

1 Semester

Full sample;
466 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Final exam test score

prohibiting Internet access vs. Internet access

1 Semester

Female;
135 students

N/A

N/A

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 19%
    Male: 81%
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    New York
  • Race
    Black
    11%
    Other or unknown
    24%
    White
    66%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    10%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    90%

Setting

The study took place at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point in New York. The USMA is a 4-year undergraduate university with an approximate enrollment of 4,400 students. The USMA provides students with a full scholarship with students’ commitment to serve as an officer in the military for 8 years post-graduation.

Study sample

Students enrolled in sections of an introductory economics course participated in the study. The sections dictated when a student participated in the course. The exact number of sections assigned to each condition was not reported, but a total of 50 sections were enrolled in the study. From the 50 sections, the study authors included 726 students in the sample. Of these, 270 were assigned to the group that did not allow Internet-enabled devices, 248 were assigned to the group that permitted full access to the use of computers or tablets (unrestricted use), and 208 were assigned to the group that permitted access to tablet use only.

Intervention Group

Students in the intervention classrooms were not allowed to use their Internet-enabled laptops or tablets during the course for the entire semester.

Comparison Group

Students in the first comparison group (unrestricted use) were allowed to use Internet-enabled laptops or tablets throughout the class without restrictions. Students in the second comparison condition were allowed to use Internet-enabled tablets, but the tablets had to remain face-up on their desks. In both conditions, professors were allowed to restrict or remove the use if it was obvious a student was distracted from the class discussion.

Support for implementation

Information on support for implementation was not reported.

 

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This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

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