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Mathematics / Effectiveness of Technology

This review examines research on the effectiveness of educational technology applications for enhancing mathematics achievement in K-12 classrooms. It applies rigorous, consistent inclusion standards to focus on studies that meet high methodological standards. Three key research questions are addressed:

  • Do education technology applications improve mathematics achievement in K-12 classrooms as compared to traditional teaching methods without education technology?
  • What study and research features moderate the effects of education technology applications on student mathematics achievement?
  • Large-scale randomized studies by Dynarski and Campuzzano found near-zero effects of modern CAI programs on math achievement. Do other high-quality studies agree or disagree with these findings?

A total of 74 qualifying studies, with a total sample size of 56,886 K-12 students, are included in the final analysis. Three major categories of education technology are reviewed:

  • Computer-managed learning, which included only Accelerated Math. This program uses computers to assess students’ mathematics levels, assign mathematics materials at appropriate levels, score tests on this material, and chart students’ progress.
  • Comprehensive models, such as Cognitive Tutor and I Can Learn, use computer-assisted instruction along with non-computer activities as the students’ core approach to mathematics.
  • Supplemental CAI technology, which consists of individualized computer-assisted instruction (CAI). Supplemental CAI programs, such as Jostens, PLATO, Larson Pre-Algebra, and SRA Drill and Practice, provide additional instruction at students’ assessed levels of need to supplement traditional classroom instruction.

Findings of the review indicate that educational technology applications produce a positive but small effect (ES=+0.16) on mathematics achievement. In particular, supplemental CAI had the largest effect, with an effect size of +0.19. The other two categories, computer-managed learning and comprehensive models, had a much smaller effect size, +0.09 and +0.06, respectively.

Full Report
Cheung, A., Slavin, R.E. (2011, July). The Effectiveness of Educational Technology Applications for Enhancing Mathematics Achievement in K-12 Classrooms: A Meta-Analysis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Research and Reform in Education.

Additional source:
Cheung, A., & Slavin, R. E. (2013). The effectiveness of educational technology applications for enhancing mathematics achievement in K-12 classrooms: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review, 9, 88-113. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2013.01.001


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