skip to main content skip to footer

The Impact of Varying Levels of Computer-Assisted Instruction on the Academic Performance of Disadvantaged Students CAI

Jamison, Dean T.; Wells, Stuart; Whelchel, Bronel
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences, National Science Foundation (NSF), Achievement Gains, Computer-Assisted Instruction, Disadvantaged Youth, Elementary School Students, Mathematics


The effects of varying amounts of computer assisted instruction (CAI) in mathematics, on the academic performance of 446 fifth and sixth graders scoring below norm on the California test of Basic Skills (CTBS) were investigated. Independent variables were: (1) beginning of year CTBS mathematics pretest score; (2) teacher's verbal ability; (3) years of teacher experience; (4) teacher degree level; (5) student self-expectation (6) number of CAI sessions that a student had in the year; and (7) intelligence test score. By regression analysis end-of-year CTBS posttest scores were compared with these independent variables using linear, Cobb Douglas (homogeneous and nonhomogeneous), and transcendental logarithmic model specifications of student achievement. CAI had a significant and positive impact on achievement in most cases. Typically 100 5-10 minute CAI sessiors--given daily to weekly--can during the course of a school year, raise a disadvantaged student's grade placement in mathematics by perhaps 3 years over at the achievement gain would have been otherwise. Furthermore, at the pretest cost of $25 to $75 per student for provision of 100 sessions per year. CAI is substantially less expensive than most alternatives for compensatory education. Advantages and limitations of the Cobb-Douglas and transcendental logarithmic specifications are also discussed. (Author/CP) (44pp.)

Read More