News Column

Home Computers May Not Improve Teens' Grades

May 23, 2013
home computer

Researchers in California say having a computer in the home has little effect on how well teenage students do in school.

Robert Fairlie and Jonathan Robinson, conducted a two-year experiment at the University of California, Santa Cruz, involving more than 1,000 middle-school and high-school students across California's Central Valley, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Some of the students who participated in the experiment were given computers at the start of a new school year and some were given computers at the end of the school year.

The researchers then looked at a number of school benchmarks on academic performance and attendance and found that the group of students that had computers the whole school year performed no better or worse that the students without the electronics.

"We looked at grades, test scores and attendance," Fairlie said. "We looked at tardies -- all of these major measures ... that schools keep track of. And we found zero effects."

"A 'B' student without a home computer remains a 'B' student even after receiving one," Fairlie said, adding, "The kids with the free computers used them for homework -- and for videogames and Facebook."

"It's not to say that computers are not useful," he said. "It's always hard when you're trying to measure these impacts on grades and test scores. It's hard to change grades and test scores but it still could be useful for kids. It's not clear that this had a measurably large impact."

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Source: Copyright UPI 2013

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