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The Impact of Laptop Use on Student Achievement

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The Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment
Volume 3, Number 2 · January 2005

Learning With Technology: The Impact of Laptop Use on Student Achievement
James Cengiz Gulek & Hakan Demirtas

www.jtla.org
A publication of the Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative Caroline A. & Peter S. Lynch School of Education, Boston College

Volume 3, Number 2

Learning With Technology: The Impact of Laptop Use on Student Achievement
James Cengiz Gulek and Hakan Demirtas Editor: Michael Russell russelmh@bc.edu Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative Lynch School of Education, Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 Copy Editor: Rachel Kay Design and Layout: Thomas Hoffmann JTLA is a free on-line journal, published by the Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative, Caroline A. & Peter S. Lynch School of Education, Boston College. Copyright ©2005 by the Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment (ISSN 1540-2525). Permission is hereby granted to copy any article provided that the Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment is credited and copies are not sold.

Preferred citation: Gulek, J. C. & Demirtas, H. (2005). Learning with technology: The impact of laptop use on student achievement. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 3(2). Available from http://www.jtla.org

Abstract: Rapid technological advances in the last decade have sparked educational practitioners’ interest in utilizing laptops as an instructional tool to improve student learning. There is substantial evidence that using technology as an instructional tool enhances student learning and educational outcomes. Past research suggests that compared to their nonlaptop counterparts, students in classrooms that provide all students with their own laptops spend more time involved in collaborative work, participate in more project-based instruction, produce writing of higher quality and greater length, gain increased access to information, improve research analysis skills, and spend more time doing homework on computers. Research has also shown that these students direct their own learning, report a greater reliance on active learning strategies, readily engage in problem solving and critical thinking, and consistently show deeper and more flexible uses of technology than students without individual laptops. The study presented here examined the impact of participation in a laptop program on student achievement. A total of 259 middle school students were followed via cohorts. The data collection measures included students’ overall cumulative grade point averages (GPAs), end-of-course grades, writing test scores, and state-mandated norm- and criterion-referenced standardized test scores. The baseline data for all measures showed that there was no statistically significant difference in English language arts, mathematics, writing, and overall grade point average achievement between laptop and non-laptop students prior to enrollment in the program. However, laptop students showed significantly higher achievement in nearly all measures after one year in the program. Cross-sectional analyses in Year 2 and Year 3 concurred with the results from the Year 1. Longitudinal analysis also proved to be an independent verification of the substantial impact of laptop use on student learning outcomes.

Learning With Technology: The Impact of Laptop Use on Student Achievement

Introduction
Technological advances, such as more powerful personal computers, directly affect the way people live in this information age. In the analysis of Fifty Trends Now Changing the World, Cetron and Davies (2001) noted that technology is increasingly dominating both the economy and society. Schools are no exception. The Digest of Education Statistics (National Center for Education Statistics, 2000) reports that the percent of students using computers at school more than doubled between 1984 and 1997. Similarly, Education Week notes that the United States, along with Australia, leads the world in the number of students per computer, with a ratio of five to one in 2003 (Technology Counts, 2004). Education Week (Technology Counts, 2004) also notes that 98 percent of nation’s schools have Internet access and that more than 12 percent of the nation’s schools have used laptops as an instructional tool. In addition, 38 states standards for teacher certification include technology, 15 states require technology training or coursework for an initial teacher license, and 9 states require a technology test for an initial teacher license. There is no doubt that educational leaders are increasingly looking for ways to increase instructional uses of technology. Over the past decade, rapid technological advances have sparked interest in utilizing laptops as an instructional tool to improve student learning. According to The New Lab for Teaching and Learning’s Dalton Council Task Force Report in Laptop Technology (2001), Beaufort County in South Carolina launched a pilot program in 1994 using laptops for instruction with 330 sixth graders. The program was expanded to all middle school students by 2000. The same report indicates that Clovis Unified School District in California and New York City Community School District Six (with 2,700 students in grades four through seven) launched similar laptop immersion programs in 1996 (Dalton Council Task Force Report, 2001). Similarly, in 2000, the state of Maine piloted a laptop immersion program with one middle school, expanding it to 241 middle schools in 2001,

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and increasing to a total of 36,000 laptops with 33,000 students and 3,000 teachers by 2003. The second largest initiative occurred in Henrico County Schools in Virginia, which piloted a laptop program in 2001 and expanded enrollment to 23,000 students by the end of 2003. Texas is the most recent state to join this trend. More than 7,300 students in thirteen schools will be given wireless laptop computers next fall for use at home and at school as part of a Technology Immersion Project that is expected to fundamentally change the way students learn. On a smaller scale, in 1996 Microsoft Corporation launched the Anytime Anywhere Learning Project in partnership with Toshiba America Information Systems’ Notebooks for Schools. The following year, full implementation of the program occurred in 52 schools across the United States. By the year 2000, 800 schools with 125,000 students and teachers participated in the laptop program. To evaluate the effectiveness of Microsoft’s laptop program, an independent research organization in San Francisco, California, was contracted. Multiple evaluations of Microsoft’s laptop immersion program yielded positive results on student learning and curriculum delivery (Rockman et al., 1997, 1998, 2000). Key evaluation findings fall into two categories: student outcomes and teacher outcomes. Student outcomes include: • Laptop students spend more time engaging in collaborative work than non-laptop students • Laptop students participate in more project-based instruction • Laptops lead to more student writing and to writing of higher quality • Laptops increase access to information and improve research analysis skills • Laptop students become collaborators (interact with each other about their work) • Laptop students direct their own learning • Laptop students report a greater reliance on active learning strategies • Laptop students readily engage in problem solving and critical thinking • Laptop students consistently show deeper and more flexible uses of technology • Laptop students spend more time doing homework on computers
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Teacher outcomes include: • Teachers who use laptops use a more constructivist approach to teaching • Teachers who use laptops feel more empowered in their classrooms • Teachers who use laptops spend less time lecturing As reported by Rockman et al. (1997, 1998, 2000), laptop use not only reinforces the utilization of successful learning strategies but also enables students to transfer the knowledge across disciplines. This is believed to occur because laptop students are involved in: (1) highly engaged and focused activities (spending more time on their work and completing larger projects); (2) frequently apply active learning strategies; (3) interact with each other about their work; (4) problem solve through project-based activities, which usually involve more critical thinking; and (5) regularly find information, make sense of it, and communicate it. Research provides evidence that students who engage in collaborative work, participating in more project-based learning, have higher levels of motivation (Wigfield et al., 1998; Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000). When students are motivated, they demonstrate improved achievement (White, 1989; Roth & Paris, 1991; Roderick & Engel, 2001; Haydel & Roeser, 2002; Gulek, 2003), they produce longer and higher quality writing samples (Reeves, 2001; Goldberg, Russell & Cook, 2003), and they spend more time doing homework (Parschal, Weinstein & Walberg, 1984; Walberg, 1984,1994; Walberg & Haertel, 1997). Similarly, teachers using a constructivist approach feel more empowered and spend less time lecturing (von Glaserfeld, 1995, 1995b), have fewer classroom management problems (Marzano et al., 2003), and have more engaged learners in their classrooms (von Glaserfeld, 1987; Jonassen, 1991; Fosnot, 1996; Marzano et al., 2003). As seen in the evaluations conducted by Rockman et al. (1997, 1998, 2000), many of these outcomes were observed when students were provided with their own laptop through the Anytime Anywhere Learning Project.

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Examining the Impact of the Harvest Park Laptop Immersion Program
There is substantial evidence that using technology as an instructional tool enhances student learning and educational outcomes (Berger, 1984; Choi & Gennaro, 1987; White & Horowitz, 1988; Garza, 1991; Geban, Askar & Ozkan, 1992; Secules, Herron & Tomasello, 1992; Njoo & de Jong, 1993; Lehman, 1994; Beauvois, 1997; Soloway et al., 1997; Gonzalez-Bueno, 1998; Schecker, 1998; Spitulnik et al., 1998; Hanna & de Nooy, 2003). The study presented in this article examines the impact of the Harvest Park Middle School’s laptop immersion program on student learning. Specific research questions include the following: 1. Does the laptop program have an impact on students’ grade point average? 2. Does the laptop program have an impact on students’ end-ofcourse grades? 3. Does the laptop program have an impact on students’ essay writing skills? 4. Does the laptop program have an impact on students’ standardized test scores? Learning outcomes examined in this study include overall grade point averages (GPAs), end-of-course grades, District Writing Assessment results for sixth and eighth grade students, results of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Norm-Referenced Test (NRT-CAT/6), and California Standards Tests in English-language arts and mathematics.

Description of the Laptop Immersion Program
Harvest Park Middle School, located in Pleasanton Unified School District in Pleasanton, California, established its Laptop Immersion Program in 2001. Located 40 miles southeast of San Francisco, in the center of what is rapidly becoming the new “Silicon Valley,“ suburban Pleasanton has experienced considerable growth in its residential and business base over the last two decades and is now home to an increasingly diverse population of more than 60,000. A highly educated, high-income community has developed in the midst of what not too long ago were acres of fruit orchards and cattle fields on the edge of Alameda County. As a school experiencing rapid growth over a short period of time, the challenge of Harvest Park was to maintain the same high level of academic excellence, while building an infrastructure that would meet the demands of its student population. Harvest Park’s laptop program emerged out of a partnership between the offerings of the high-tech businesses in the community and schools’ search for innovative programs.

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How Does the Laptop Program Work? Students in the Laptop Immersion Program receive the same grade level curriculum offered to all students in the district. The differences are seen in the method of curriculum delivery and in the latitude of options students are given to demonstrate curriculum mastery through the use of technology. All students are eligible to participate in the program. Parents purchase the laptops used by their students in this program. For families who cannot afford to purchase a laptop, a Laptop Advisory Committee, comprised of an administrator, and teacher and parent representatives, reviews parent requests for loaner laptops. The loaner applications are reviewed during the spring enrollment period for the program. To date, no student has been denied an opportunity to participate in the Laptop Program. The loaner program provides students computers approximately one week before the start of the school year and allows students to keep them until the end of the school year. At the end of the year, students in the loaner program are required to return their computers to the school. All students participate in computer camp where they are introduced to the basics of using the computer. Teachers who regularly teach in the Laptop Program also teach the Computer Camp. Students are trained in understanding the capabilities of laptops, in navigating and operating the computer, and in installing the software that they will use later in the year. The session also covers the rules and expectations around laptop use in the classroom, internet/e-mail safety, and virus safety. Students receive hands-on training in all of these areas. Students then use laptops on a daily basis during the school year. The laptop use varies depending on the subject matter. The most common laptop applications in the classroom include essay writing and on-line grading in English, researching information on the web , and developing power point presentations for projects in history/social science classes. Students also use laptops to develop websites, access web-based lab projects and activities in science, and design posters and logos. Note-taking for all subjects in the classroom is also performed with laptops.

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Program Enrollment The Laptop Immersion Program started with sixth grade students as a pilot program in the 2001–02 school year and was subsequently expanded to seventh and eighth grade students. Students were allowed to join the program at any point during their middle school years, as long as any course scheduling conflicts were resolved. The program caught the growing interest of many students and expanded to a current enrollment of 259. Table 1 shows the enrollment in the program and school-wide enrollment by grade level in 2003–04. Table 1: Laptop Immersion Program Enrollment by Grade
Laptop Program Enrollment 91 93 75 259 Total School Enrollment 353 361 371 1085

Grade 6 7 8 Total

Student Demographics
To compare the demographics of students enrolled in the Laptop Program to the demographics of students school-wide at Harvest Park Middle School, several key indicators were identified. These key demographics data included students’ ethnic background, gender, Gifted and Talented (GATE) program enrollment, special education status, enrollment in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP; economically disadvantaged status), English Learner status, and parent education level. The data are summarized in Table 2. (Table 2 is shown on the following page.)

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Table 2:

Student Demographics – Laptop Immersion Program Versus School-Wide
Student Demographics Ethnicity Asian Filipino Hispanic/Latino African American White Gender Female Male Gifted and Talented Special Education Economically Disadvantaged English Learner Parent Education Level Graduate School College Graduate Some College High School Graduate Not High School Graduate 42% 46% 10% 2% 0% 37% 44% 12% 6% 1% 44% 56% 27% 5% 1% 1% 49% 51% 24% 10% 4% 3% 14% 1% 6% 0% 79% 16% 2% 7% 1% 74% Laptop School-wide

Table 2 indicates that all demographic indicators show no more than five percentage points difference between laptop and non-laptop students. This indicates the demographic composition of students enrolled in the program closely mirror those of the entire school population.

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Data Collection Measures
The data collection measures included students’ overall cumulative grade point averages (GPAs), end-of-course grades, district writing assessment scores, California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program Norm-referenced test scores (California Achievement Test Survey Form Sixth Edition), and Criterion-referenced test scores from the STAR California Standards Tests. Each measure is described below.

Grade Point Averages (GPAs)
The grade point averages (GPAs) were reported on a 4-point scale to two decimal places. The cumulative overall GPAs were used for this study, including grades from all middle school courses in which students were enrolled. The cumulative GPA represents the average of grades awarded in all courses taken by a given student during the current academic year.

End-of-Course Grades
The end-of-course grades are reported on a 5-point scale as A, B, C, D, and F. The pluses and minuses within each letter grade were rounded to the same letter grade for analytic purposes. For example, grades of A+, A, and A- were all reported as the letter grade of A. End of course grades were collected for English and mathematics and represent the cumulative grade within each course awarded at the end of the school year.

District (Local) Writing Assessment
The district writing assessment, formally known as the District Writing Sample, is given to all middle school students in grades six and eight, unless the student has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan stating differently. Seventh grade students take the state writing test and not the district test. State writing test results are not reported separately but are incorporated into the California Standards Test in English-language arts scores. The district writing assessment results in grades six and eight are reported in four proficiency levels. Below is the interpretation of these proficiency levels: – Minimal Proficiency: does not meet the grade level expectation. – Limited Proficiency: approaches the grade level expectation. – Solid Proficiency: competent achievement, meets the grade level expectation. – Advanced Proficiency: exceeds the grade level expectation.

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Standardized Norm-Referenced Test Results
In April 2002, the California State Board of Education designated the California Achievement Tests, Sixth Edition Survey (CAT/6) published by CTB/McGraw-Hill (which replaced the Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition or SAT/9) as the national norm-referenced test for the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program. The SAT/9 had been the designated norm-referenced test for the previous five years in California. Like the SAT/9, the CAT/6 is a national norm-referenced achievement test, and the test questions and scoring are the same from year to year. All students in grades 2–11 are tested in reading, language and mathematics. Students in grades 2–8 are also tested in spelling, and students in grades 9–11 are tested in science. The purpose of administering the CAT/6 is to determine how well each California student is achieving academically compared to a national sample of students tested in the same grade at the same time of the school year.

California Standards Tests
The California Standards Tests (CSTs) are given to public school students in grades 2–11 as part of the State’s Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program. The CSTs are criterion-referenced tests, developed specifically for California public schools and aligned to state-adopted academic content standards that describe what students should know and be able to demonstrate at each grade level and subject area tested. Results are based on how well students achieve the academic content standards, not how student results compare with results of other students taking same tests. Questions for all CSTs, except for the writing tests in grades four and seven, are in a multiple-choice format. The California State Board of Education established five performance levels. These levels are advanced, proficient, basic, below basic, and far below basic.

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Laptop Immersion Program and Student Achievement
The data analysis was conducted in a three-layered approach. Descriptive statistics constituted the first layer in which the authors examined if there were any notable differences between laptop and non-laptop students to warrant further analyses. These results are presented in Tables 3–7. The initial results prompted further analyses of the data using inferential statistics with particular data points to determine if there were differences between laptop and non-laptop students prior to enrolling in the program. The results from the inferential statistics, along with the initial descriptive statistics are presented in Tables 9–14. When inferential statistics yielded no significant results prior to program enrollment, but significant results after enrolling in the program, the authors then applied model-based longitudinal analysis to the data. Table 15 presents results from the longitudinal analysis.

Grade Point Average (GPA)
The 2003–04 school year cumulative GPAs of laptop and non-laptop students were averaged by grade level. Table 3 shows the summary of this data. Table 3: 2003–04 Cumulative Grade Point Averages by Grade
Program Enrollment Grade 6 7 8 Laptop 3.50 3.28 3.23 Non-Laptop 3.13 2.94 3.07

Results indicate that Harvest Park Middle School students in the Laptop Immersion Program attained higher GPAs than non-participating students in their respective grades. The greatest difference was observed in sixth grade GPAs.

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End-of-Course Grades
End-of-course grades in English and math were also collected to identify any difference between laptop and non-laptop students. Table 4 displays the percentage of students receiving each end-of-course grade for English and mathematics by grade level and by program enrollment. Table 4: 2003–04 End-of-Course Grades by Subject, Grade, and Program
Grade 6 End-of-Course Letter Grade A B C D F A B C D F Laptop 50% 42% 7% 1% 0% 40% 41% 14% 2% 3% NonLaptop 38% 32% 21% 6% 3% 33% 31% 20% 6% 10% Grade 7 Laptop 39% 45% 11% 3% 2% 37% 38% 18% 5% 2% NonLaptop 23% 33% 28% 9% 7% 30% 32% 21% 8% 9% Grade 8 Laptop 36% 54% 10% 0% 0% 24% 36% 20% 20% 0% NonLaptop 39% 40% 17% 3% 1% 23% 29% 28% 11% 9%

English Language Arts

Mathematics

Results indicate that there is a substantial difference between laptop and non-laptop students in terms of their end-of-course grades. A notably higher percentage of laptop students attained A grades and a significantly lower percentage attained F grades in their English and mathematics courses. The largest difference between percent of laptop and non-laptop students obtaining A grades was in seventh grade English and the smallest difference was in eighth grade mathematics. One exception to this trend was that a slightly higher percentage of non-laptop students obtained A grades in eighth grade English; however, results favored laptop students (90%) versus non-laptop students (79%) in terms of the percentage of students attaining a B or a higher for eighth grade English.

District (Local) Writing Assessment Results
The 2004 district writing assessment is given to all middle school students in grades six and eight. The grade level expectations for the writing sample focused on responding to the assigned topic, having discernible organization, demonstrating adequate word choice and including supporting material. Specific expectations included but were not limited to
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grammar, mechanics, sentence structure, fluency, sentence development, organization, and neatness. Table 5 compares the most recent assessment results (March 2004 testing) for laptop students, the entire school, and the district. Table 5: 2004 District Writing Assessment Results by Grade and Program Enrollment
Score of 4 (Advanced Proficiency) Laptop Program Grade 6 Harvest Park District Average Laptop Program Grade 8 Harvest Park District Average 17% 16% 9% 15% 17% 16% Score of 3 (Solid Proficiency) 78% 68% 72% 76% 66% 68% Score of 2 (Limited Proficiency) 5% 16% 19% 9% 17% 16% Score of 1 (Minimal Proficiency) 0% 1% 2% 0% 2% 2%

Results indicate that eighth grade laptop students at both the highest (advanced proficiency) and lowest (minimal proficiency) scoring levels do not show noteworthy differences from Harvest Park Middle School or from district-wide results. However, a considerably higher percentage of laptop students scored 3 (solid proficiency) compared with their school average and district-wide results. Overall, a substantially higher percentage of laptop students (95% in Grade 6; 91% in grade 8) met or exceeded grade level expectations in writing compared to Harvest Park school-wide averages (84% in Grade 6; 83% in grade 8) and district-wide averages (81% in Grade 6; 84% in grade 8).

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STAR Norm-Referenced Test Results
The state mandated Norm-Referenced Test (NRT) data were also compiled to measure the effect of the Laptop Immersion Program on student learning. The current NRT is the California Achievement Test Sixth Edition Survey Form (CAT/6 Survey). Table 6 presents the 2004 STAR NRT results for current students in total language and total mathematics by grade level and by program enrollment in terms of the percentage of students scoring at or above the national average (50th percentile). Table 6: 2004 STAR Norm-Referenced Test Results by Grade: Percent of Students Scoring At or Above National Average (50th Percentile)
Total Language Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Laptop Non-Laptop Laptop Non-Laptop Laptop Non-Laptop 88% 78% 86% 76% 89% 77% Total Mathematics 96% 83% 83% 76% 83% 77%

Results indicate that a considerably higher proportion of laptop students scored at or above the national average in both the language and mathematics portions of the CAT/6 across all grade levels. The largest difference in NRT outcomes occurred between current sixth grade laptop and non-laptop students in math, and current eighth grade students in total language, when they were tested at the end of their first year enrollment in the laptop program.

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STAR California Standards Tests Results
The California Standards Tests (CSTs) are given to public school students in grades 2-11 as part of the state’s Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program. The CST results are based on how well students achieve on state academic content standards. Table 7 presents the 2004 STAR CST results in English-language arts and mathematics in terms of percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced by grade level and program enrollment. Table 7: 2004 STAR California Standards Tests in English-Language Arts and Mathematics Results: Percent of Students Scoring Proficient or Advanced
EnglishLanguage Arts Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Laptop Non-Laptop Laptop Non-Laptop Laptop Non-Laptop 80% 68% 83% 64% 76% 56%

Mathematics 86% 66% 73% 57% 58% 49%

The CST results indicate that a notably higher percentage of students enrolled in the Laptop Immersion Program at Harvest Park Middle School, across all grade levels, met or exceeded state content standards in English-language arts and mathematics when compared to their non-laptop counterparts. The average difference in the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced in the CSTs between laptop and non-laptop students was 17 percentage points for English-language arts and 18 percentage points for mathematics, both favoring the laptop program. The greatest difference, 20 percentage points between the two groups, was observed in the sixth grade mathematics scores and eighth grade Englishlanguage arts scores.

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Examining Prior Achievement and Impact of the Laptop Immersion Program
Random assignment into treatments and measures of prior achievement in identifying the impact of a particular program, such as the Laptop Immersion Program on learning, is an ongoing issue in field-based educational research. It is particularly difficult to estimate the extent to which prior differences of students enrolled in the Laptop Program contribute to the difference in student performance as a group. This study attempts to address this issue by comparing student-learning outcomes from the year prior to the students’ participation in the program.

Prior Achievement and Follow-up Data: Statistical Comparisons
Additional data analyses were conducted for students who are at different stages in the Laptop Program and reported for their achievement outcomes prior to, and at the end of, their first, second, and third years of enrollment in the program. Students were followed via cohorts. Cohorts were based on the number of years enrolled in the program. There are currently three cohorts in the program. The Cohort design is presented in Table 8 below. Table 8: Cohort Design by Academic Year
Academic Year 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04 Baseline Data (Grade 5) Cohort 1 Cohort 2 Cohort 3 – Year 1 Data (Grade 6) – Cohort 1 Cohort 2 Cohort 3 Year 2 Data (Grade 7) – – Cohort 1 Cohort 2 Year 3 Data (Grade 8) – – – Cohort 1

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Cohort 1 Analyses
Cohort 1 members were the eighth grade students in the 2003–2004 school year. They are the first group of students who went through the program for three consecutive years. Their baseline data was gathered from 2000–01, when they were fifth graders. Results of the STAR NRT language arts and math, STAR CST in English-Language Arts, and district writing assessments were used for further analysis to determine achievement of this cohort at the end of the first year. STAR NRT scores are presented as the percent of students scoring at or above National Average (At/Above 50th percentile), STAR CST and district writing scores are presented as the percent of students scoring proficient or advanced (meeting or exceeding the [state] standard). Table 9 presents the results. Table 9: Prior Differences in Achievement for Cohort 1 by Program Enrollment
Baseline Data (Prior to Laptop Enrollment) STAR NRT LA STAR NRT Math STAR CST ELA District Writing Test Laptop Non-laptop Laptop Non-laptop Laptop Non-laptop Laptop Non-laptop 97% (N=67) 94% (N=202) 98% (N=66) 93% (N=203) 79% (N=66) 60% (N=214) 81% (N=63) 83% (N=210)

End of Year 1 100% (N=70) 84% (N=228) 99% (N=70) 86% (N=235) 74% (N=70) 63% (N=228) 96% (N=68) 95% (N=230)

Change +3 -10 +1 -7 -5 +3 +15 +12

Baseline data in Table 9 indicate that there were minor differences between laptop and non-laptop students for the three measures, with the exception of CST English-language arts (which favored laptop students). However, the follow-up data showed that laptop students demonstrated more positive change in scores than non-laptop students in three of the four measures. To examine whether differences in prior achievement (baseline) and the first year follow-up scores are statistically significant, a series of T-tests were conducted with cross-sectional data. The scaled scores were used when analyzing the STAR test data. The results are presented in Table 10. (Table 10 is shown on the following page.)

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Table 10:

Cross-Sectional Analysis of Cohort 1 Achievement by Program Enrollment
Baseline (2000–01) Year 1 (2001–02)
Laptop NonLaptop

Year 2 (2002–03)
Laptop NonLaptop

Year 3 (2003–04)
Laptop NonLaptop

Measure

Statistics Mean SS SD N

Laptop

NonLaptop

691 27 67 3.10

685 32 202

698 24 70 9.84

688 35 232

697 33 72 2.51

690 42 269

707 43 72 0.02

692 45 279

STAR NRT Language Arts

F p
Mean SS

p>.05 (NS*)
700 33 66 0.02 692 35 203

p< .005
718 28 70 13.89 701 43 235

p> .1 (NS)
710 43 71 1.79 699 48 268

p> .1 (NS)
729 45 72 1.15 718 54 279

SD STAR NRT N Mathematics

F p

p>.1 (NS)
Limited Reports produced, Scaled Scores not reported)

p .1 (NS)
383 40 72 6.87 367 54 267

p> .1 (NS)
374 43 72 6.88 361 55 277

Mean SS STAR CST EnglishLanguage Arts SD N

F p-value
Mean SS

p< .005
395 48
Test not operational

p< .01
381 54 72 2.54 363 66 268 65

p< .01
383 72 72 0.07 367 80 275

370 232 8.57

SD STAR CST N Mathematics F

70

p-value
Mean SS District Writing Assessment SD N 2.9 0.9 63 0.34 3.0 0.8 210

p .1 (NS)
District writing assessment not offered at this grade level 3.24 0.57 72 12.65 2.97 0.79 273

p> .1 (NS)
3.1 0.5 72 5.53 2.9 0.6 275

F p-value
Mean SS SD

p>.1 (NS)
GPAs not calculated at Grade 5

p>.1 (NS)
3.51 0.46 70 14.47 3.18 0.70 237

p< .05
3.23 0.58 72 2.13 3.07 0.67 285

Overall GPA

N

F p-value

p< .001

p< .001

p>.1 (NS)

Note: (*): NS means non-significant, N means sample size and SD means standard deviation.

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The baseline data for three measures (NRT language arts and math, and the district writing test) show that there is no statistically significant difference in achievement between laptop and non-laptop students prior to the enrollment in the program. However, the comparison between the two groups after one year in the program indicate that laptop students showed significantly higher achievement in NRT language arts (F=9.84, p< .005) and NRT mathematics (F=13.89, p .05 (NS) 697 36 86 0.58 p> .1 (NS) 381 39 85 1.68 p>.1 (NS) 401 65 85 0.02 p>.1 (NS) 3.5 0.8 82 2.79 p>.05 (NS) 3.5 0.9 193 379 68 205 365 45 204 684 38 206

p> .1 (NS) 709 42 90 0.74 p> .1 (NS) 397 40 91 10.12 p .1 (NS) 387 49 92 9.42 p .1 (NS) 368 70 241 370 58 240 700 51 241

District writing assessment not offered at this grade level

3.28 0.60 92 12.06

2.94 0.81 252

GPAs not calculated at Grade 5

92

p< .005

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Learning With Technology: The Impact of Laptop Use on Student Achievement

Gulek & Demirtas
24

Baseline data show that the difference in both English-language arts and math performance between laptop and non-laptop students prior to enrolling in the program was not statistically significant. However, Year 1 results showed that laptop students, as compared to their non-laptop counterparts, demonstrated significantly higher achievement in CST English-language arts (F=10.12, p< .005) and CST mathematics (F=9.22, p< .005). The district writing assessment results for Cohort 2 were consistent with CST results. The cross-sectional mean comparison for writing achievement indicated that students’ prior writing skills did not differ significantly, but laptop students demonstrated significantly higher achievement at the end of Year 1 (F=7.73, p< .01). However, STAR NRT scores for language arts and mathematics did not show any significant differences for all comparisons. Because overall GPAs are not calculated at Grade 5, baseline data was not available for comparison. Nevertheless, cross-sectional comparison between laptop and non-laptop students show that laptop students obtained significantly higher overall GPAs in both Year 1 (F=19.97, p< .001) and in Year 2 (F=12.06, p< .005).

Cohort 3 Analyses
Cohort 3 members were the sixth grade students in the 2003–04 school year who were enrolled in the program for one school year. Their baseline data came from the 2002–03 school year test scores, when students were in the fifth grade. STAR NRT and CST results in English-language arts and math, and district writing assessment results were used to evaluate student achievement. Table 13 presents student achievement results prior to enrolling, and after completing one year in the program. Table 13: Prior Differences in Writing Achievement for Cohort 3 by Program Enrollment
Baseline Data
(Prior to Laptop Enrollment)

End of Year 1 88% (N=70) 78% (N=228) 96% (N=70) 83% (N=235) 80% (N=70) 68% (N=228) 86% (N=70) 66% (N=228) 95% (N=68) 79% (N=230)

Change -4 -3 -1 0 -9 -5 -6 -5 +19 +11

STAR NRT LA STAR NRT Math STAR CST ELA STAR CST Math

Laptop Non-laptop Laptop Non-laptop Laptop Non-laptop Laptop Non-laptop

92% (N=67) 81% (N=202) 97% (N=66) 83% (N=203) 89% (N=66) 73% (N=214) 92% (N=66) 71% (N=214) 76% (N=63) 68% (N=210)

District Writing Laptop Test Non-laptop
J·T·L·A

Learning With Technology: The Impact of Laptop Use on Student Achievement

Gulek & Demirtas
25

Results presented in Table 13 indicate that there were notable differences in achievement between laptop and non-laptop students in the baseline year. The change in scores after enrolling one year in the program provided mixed results. Whereas STAR CST and NRT scores did not show notable differences in achievement, laptop students showed a substantially more positive change in writing achievement after enrolling one year in the program. A cross-sectional comparison of mean scores was made to test the difference in achievement. As seen in Table 14, results from the cross-sectional comparison of achievement for laptop and non-laptop students indicate that the differences at the baseline data were not statistically significant for all measures. However, laptop students showed significantly higher achievement in writing after the first year of enrollment in the laptop program (F=4.02, p< .05). STAR CST and NRT scores in English-language arts and mathematics indicate that there is no statistically significant difference in baseline achievement between laptop and non-laptop students. Whereas English-language arts scores did not show any statistical differences after enrolling one year in the program, laptop students demonstrated significantly higher math achievement in NRT (F=5.09, p< .05) and CST (F=4.91, p< .05) in Year 1. In addition, laptop students obtained significantly higher overall GPAs after their first year in the program (F=17.29, p< .001). Although there is no baseline data to conclude whether student achievement prior to the enrollment in the program had any impact on the higher overall GPAs, it is reasonable to expect that the baseline STAR results for this cohort and results from other cohorts are consistent with these findings. (Table 14 is shown on the following page.)

J·T·L·A

Learning With Technology: The Impact of Laptop Use on Student Achievement

Gulek & Demirtas
26

Table 14:

Cross-Sectional Analysis of Cohort 3 Achievement by Program Enrollment
Baseline (2002–03)
Measure Statistics Laptop NonLaptop

Year 1 (2003–04)
Laptop NonLaptop

Mean SS STAR NRT Language Arts SD N F

690 30 88 3.57

681 39 255

704 49 90 1.46

691 44 272

p
Mean SS STAR NRT Mathematics SD N F

p>.05 (NS)
700 43 88 1.56 685 51 256

p> .1 (NS)
711 33 90 5.09 699 46 273

p
Mean SS STAR CST EnglishLanguage Arts SD N F

p>.1 (NS)
387 37 88 2.60 374 43 255 389 44 90

p.1 (NS)
428 65 88 2.17 394 76 255

p>.1 (NS)
403 53 90 4.91 380 66 273

p
Mean SS District Writing Assessment SD N F

p>.1 (NS)
2.9 0.6 86 2.63 2.8 0.6 244 3.1 0.4 89

p.1 (NS)
3.50 0.54
GPAs not calculated at Grade 5

p

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