The Impact of Instructional Technology on Student Academic Achievement in Reading and Mathematics

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ABSTRACT

This study examined the relationship between levels of technology implementation in the classroom and standardized test scores in reading and mathematics in grades four and five. A sample of teachers (n=107) were surveyed using the Levels of Technology Implementation (LoTi) Instrument to determine their personal level of technology implementation in their classroom. Standardized test achievement scores in reading and mathematics were gathered from the teachers' students (n=2574) for analysis to determine whether a significant difference existed in achievement between students from teachers who characterized themselves as low level users of technology in their classroom. Results showed a significant difference in both math and reading scores among the fifth grade students. However, no significant difference was found among the fourth grade students.

INTRODUCTION

Today's business and industrial leaders are emphasizing the need for workers who are adequately prepared for the technical jobs of the future (Kazi-Ferrouil-let, 1989). These leaders have further emphasized the need to restructure public education to better prepare students for this technical environment (David, 1991; Kearns, 1988; Mitchell & Encamation, 1984; Seeley, 1988). Furthermore, business leaders continue to emphasize the need for advancing technologies from the industrial and political world into the instructional programs of public schools (Ambach, 1992; Goodlad, 1984).

Public education must prepare students to make effective use of technology which they will need in the 21st century (Moursund, 1991b). As students move from school-to-work, they will need a wide range of skills, including strong communication and interpersonal skills and math and technology skills (Stintson, 1993). For education to be successful, public schools must make current technologies available to students that are already available in the business world (Davis & Henry, 1993). For this transition to properly occur, students must become actively involved, and teachers must be given the resources and training needed to properly implement technology (Hill, 1992; Moursund, 1991, 1992; National Academy of Sciences [NAS], 1995; Pearlmati, 1999; Stintson, 1993). In support of education's reform efforts, many schools and school districts across the nation have made monumental changes by incorporating technology into their restructuring efforts. However, the key to a successful partnership between educational reform and technology lies in educational leaders developing curriculum and instructional methods and goals that use technology as a support tool to improve the way teachers teach and children learn (NAS, 1995; Sheingold & Tucker, 1990).

Despite research on the importance of technology in schools, many school districts are restricted by the cost of new technology. Due to the high cost of the acquisition and implementation of these technologies, it is important to examine the level of technology implementation in the classroom and to determine what effect this will have on student achievement. When this question is answered, leaders in education will then have the necessary knowledge and research to determine the cost benefit of technology purchases.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The purpose of this study was to investigate how the levels of technology implementation by fourth and fifth grade teachers affected student achievement in reading and mathematics. Teachers' perceptions of technology usage was gathered using the Level of Technology Implementation (LoTi) Instrument designed by Learning Quest, Inc., of Corvallis, Oregon. The LoTi Instrument provides a fair approximation of teacher behaviors related to technology implementation. The mathematical and reading academic achievement of each fourth and fifth grade student was analyzed using the mean scaled scores as determined by the Metropolitan Achievement Test: Seventh Edition. …