Children with home computers likely to have lower test scores

July, 2010

An American study suggests that getting a home computer can have a negative effect on reading and math scores in middle-grade students, particularly those from disadvantaged families.

Data from North Carolina's mandated End-of-Grade tests (2000-2005), which includes student reports on how frequently they use a home computer for schoolwork, watch TV or read for pleasure, reveals that students in grades five through eight (c.10-13), particularly those from disadvantaged families, tended to have lower reading and math scores after they got a home computer. The researchers suggest that the greater negative effect in disadvantaged households may reflect less parental monitoring.

Reference: 

[1635] Vigdor, J. L., & Ladd H. F.
(2010).  Scaling the Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achievement.
National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series. No. 16078,

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