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In an attempt to increase student’s standardized test scores, schools have begun to incorporate technology for review and remediation of standards taught. This study has been designed to assess the effectiveness of technology and its impact on students’ test scores. This study will examine the effects of technology on the academic achievement of students in third grade.
The Impact of Using Technology to Increase Test Scores
Introduction and Overview
This study will consist of two groups of third grade students, from three different classes, and they will be divided by using a cluster randomly selected. Each group will consist of 20 students. Each third-grade class will have a control group and an experimental group for a total of 60 students participating in the study. The control groups will receive traditional reading and mathematics instruction, which consists of a combination of whole group and small group lessons, differentiated instruction and lessons using manipulatives. The experimental group will also use technology for practice and remediation of the standards that have been covered. The students can use iPads, desktop computers or Chromebooks to access the following websites: performanceseries.com, readingeggs.com, zearn.com, and aaamath.com. The instrument that will be used in this study to measure student progress will be a pre and posttest. Also, the classroom teachers and students will complete a Likert scale questionnaire at the end of the study to provide feedback regarding the study.
The purpose of this study is to assess whether or not using technology will increase test scores in elementary classrooms. The question that is being tested is the following: will using technology for practice and remediation increase students’ test scores? As educators, we must be innovative in creating new strategies to help our students be successful.
Since most students have access to technology before stepping foot into a classroom, teachers should incorporate it into their classroom. Students enjoy all types of technology because it is engaging and entertaining. Because of this, can teachers find ways to implement technology into their classrooms that would actually benefit students? A research study stated that computer-based instruction has the potential to significantly increase a student’s achievement in mathematics (Cavanagh, 2009). However, a problem with this concept is that the gaming industry has given up on creating more entertaining educational computer games because of their lack of success after their first attempt (Zyda, 2007). The gaming industry needs to create more educational computer games that are as engaging and entertaining as traditional video games.
Research Question and Hypothesis
The research question is as follows: Does technology increase student’s test scores? My research hypothesis is the following: The use of technology in third grade classes for practice and remediation will increase students’ test scores. This indicates that there is a relationship between the use of technology for practice and remediation for reading and mathematical standards (independent variable) and students’ test scores (dependent variable).
Definition of Terms
Key Terms: technology, computer, reading, mathematical, game, website, score, research
Constitutive definitions. These definitions were found using the Merriam-Webster dictionary online: www.merriam-webster.com
Technology is defined as “a manner of accomplishing a task especially using technical processes, methods, or knowledge.”
Computer is defined as “an electronic machine that can store and work with large amounts of information.”
Reading is defined as “the act of reading.”
Mathematical is defined as “the science of numbers, quantities, and shapes and relations between them.”
Game is defined as “a physical mental activity or contest that has rules and that people do for pleasure.”
Website is defined as “a group of World Wide Web pages usually containing hyperlinks to each other and made available online by an individual, company, educational institution, government, or organization.”
Score is defined as “the number of points that someone gets for correct answers on a test, exam, etc.”
Research is defined as “the collecting of information about a particular subject.”
An improvement in reading and mathematics scores will be determined by the increase in the average scores from the pre and posttest taken by the experimental and control groups.
The experimental and control groups will take a pretest prior to the standard being taught as well as a posttest upon completion. The increase in scores between the pretest and posttest from each group will be averaged. The average change in scores will be used to determine if the use of technology (computer games and other educational websites for research) increased the test scores.
Using technology refers to using desktop computers, Chromebooks, and/or iPads to access online games and websites that will be implemented into the experimental group’s lessons for practice and remediation of content during the study. These games and websites will consist of the following sources: performanceseries.com, readingeggs.com, zearn.com, and aaamath.com.
Reading and math are important subjects for our students to learn and understand so they can apply the skills learned to their everyday lives. As educators, it is important to meet students where they are and use tools that keep their attention and motivate them.
Jiménez states, “The majority of students believe that having games as a part of their school work would result in more engagement, greater understanding, and more learning.”
Therefore, if teachers can find a way to keep learning fun, they can keep their students motivated and engaged which will hopefully increase their test scores.
Studies Directly Related
Some teachers are skeptical about incorporating computer games into their classroom curriculum. Students are already familiar with most technology and would more than likely choose using technology over traditional paper-and-pencil methods. Therefore, with the use of technology, teachers will be able to increase student engagement and motivation and hopefully increase test scores.
As FengFeng Ke stated, “Employing a pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design, this study examined the effects of classroom goal structures (individualistic, competitive, or cooperative) and learning applications (computer games vs. paper-and-pencil drills) on criterion measures (standards-based math exam performance, attitudes questionnaire and metacognitive awareness survey responses) (Ke, 2008).
These students were divided into six groups; with three control groups that utilized paper-and-pencil drills, and three experimental groups that utilized computer games. Each of the participants took a pretest and a posttest. This research study was implemented for four consecutive weeks, and the results showed that the students in the computer game groups showed more motivation for mathematical learning compared to those in the paper-and-pencil groups (Ke, 2008).
When teachers are able to motivate their students and keep them engaged, the students will become more interested in the teaching. This next study did not show a direct effect of using computer games to increase test scores; however, it did show that the use of computer games in the classroom does in fact motivate students to learn. The focus on improving standardized test scores has placed a lot of pressure and attention on EL and minority students. EL students that work on computers daily performed higher than those who did not (Kim & Chang, 2010). Classrooms are becoming more diverse. Therefore, educators have to find ways to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of all students no matter how diverse it may be. The researchers studied the results to figure out the effects of using computer games to increase scores for ESL versus non-ESL students. Within those groups, they were broken down by gender (Kim & Chang, 2010). Basically, computer games will not only help gain the attention of most of our students, but it will also serve as a resource for raising all students’ retention rate and scores. Furthermore, it shows that when technology is used consistently, the more familiar students will become.
As teachers are being pressured to increase test scores, the greatest hurdle they face is the diverse student population. In a new study on assistive technology, Apkan was able to discover the effectiveness of assistive technology on a diverse population. (Apkan, 2014). When there is technology that meets the needs of all types of learners, it allows the teacher to meet the needs of their students at a faster and more effective rate than traditional teaching.
Apkan (2014) stated, “Assistive Technology can promote greater independence for students by enabling them to perform tasks that they were formerly either unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to or changed methods of interacting with the curriculum.”
Through the use of games and other technology activities, it has allowed students to have a deeper understanding of concepts being taught are applied in the real world.
In a recent study conducted on teachers’ beliefs about using technology in the classroom, it was proven that teachers have not been adequately trained in educational technologies so that they can effectively teach using technology (Lin, 2008). Therefore, there is an increase of teachers who do not use technology in the classroom; it is not because they do not have access to it but rather because they are not equipped on how to incorporate it into their lessons. Lin states, “Computers are essential tools for teaching, learning, and doing mathematics” (Lin, 2008). When teachers changed their mindset from having to learn how to use the technology to seeing technology in the classroom as a support learning system, it changes the outcome of the effectiveness of technology in the classroom. This study used 47 students who attended web-based workshops. All of these students were just entering the elementary education program and had never been taught by using computers. Each session lasted about 60 minutes (Lin, 2008). Throughout this study, the students were in different sessions to discuss grades K-5 math standards and how they would use technology to solve problems. Researchers gave the students pre and post questionnaires about computers and teaching. Results showed that after the workshop, teachers liked using technology more than when they began. Lin stated that the function of the technology used a “visual representation made possible by the dynamic interactive web sites makes it easy to create connections between a mathematical expression and the situation to which it refers. It helps students not to stick with a description in words and symbols or with a diagram in a book that cannot be examined or explored” (Lin, 2008).
After this study was conducted, it proved to other educators that teachers need to be able to teach students in a variety of ways. This allows teachers to meet the needs of their diverse classroom.
Studies Tangentially Related
There is a study that shows the reasons why teachers will not incorporate the use of technology into their classrooms. They questioned 35 different Korean teachers on why they would not use technology in their classrooms. This study also conducted a survey for 444 Korean teachers all with different experience levels for a total of 479 teachers (Baek, 2008). The results showed that the six most common reasons were: fixed class schedules, lack of supporting materials, students’ lack of readiness, limited budgets, inflexibility of curriculum, and negative effects of gaming. Through this study it showed that the female teachers were more concerned with the lack of supporting material, not enough time in the class, budgets, and students not knowing how to use the games. (Baek, 2008).
“Games are unlike other instructional media in that they are learning environments, not teaching tools. Thus, varying initial student proficiency levels may result in different degrees of achievement as well as varying attitudes toward using games for their learning” (Baek, 2008).
The results from this study also showed that there will be more issues that will arise while teachers are trying to incorporate technology to increase test scores.
The proposed study is a cluster randomized pretest/posttest control group design. Two groups of participants are used- a control group and an experimental group. The control group will receive regular instruction with no technology. The experimental group will receive regular instruction with the use of technology each day. A pretest will be used to generate data before the experiment begins. A posttest will be used at the end of the experiment and will be used to generate data that will be compared to pretest data.
The participants in this study will be third graders from three different classes in Alabama. Each class will be divided into two different groups at random, ten in a control group and ten in an experimental group. The sample for this study consists of 33 females and 35 males. Within this sample the ethnic makeup is that of the following: 30% African American, 49% Hispanic, 21% Caucasian. From these three classes, the students are mostly low socio-economic statuses.
Throughout the four-week study, the classroom teachers will take scores from the online computer games after the students have completed them for second time. Also, a pretest and posttest used for this study will consist of content-related questions from the teacher’s preexisting pre-test and posttest. Both of these assessments will provide content related questions that are designed to measure each student’s progression. The averages of the pretest and posttest for each class will be used to decide if there was an increase in student performance. These tests show validity because everyone is tested on the same information before and after the standard is taught. These tests are also reliable because they statistically calculate to show improvement or the lack of improvement. To ensure internal consistency and stability, the same pretest and posttest will be given from class to class and the same computer games and websites will be used to help increase test scores.
At the end of the study, the students, as well as the teacher, will be asked to fill out a questionnaire. This questionnaire will be on a Likert scale, like a rating scale, to give participants an opportunity to give honest feedback. There will be 10 questions asking their opinion of how they enjoyed using or not using the computer games and websites to practice standards. From this questionnaire, the researcher will receive feedback regarding student’s feelings and confidence after using the computer games and websites compared to traditional paper-pencil method.
The proposed study is a cluster randomized pretest/posttest control group design. A random sample of 60 third grade students will be taken from three third grade classes at Austinville Elementary School to study the impact of using technology to increase test scores versus the traditional teaching methods to raise mathematic test scores. Each class of 20 students will have a control group and an experimental group. The control groups will consist of 10 students per group and they will receive the instruction required by the school system, but they will not get to use technology for practice and remediation. These classes will incorporate extra traditional paper-and-pencil for practice and remediation of each standard. The experimental groups will consist of 10 students per group and they will receive the instruction that is required by the school system with the addition of using technology to practice and remediate each standard being taught. These students will use technology every day for four weeks. Each teacher will administer the same pretest and a posttest to both groups and then average the results to determine if the impact of using technology is effective.
This study has four potential threats to internal validity: characteristics, testing information, subject attitude, and location. To control subject characteristics, the participants for the control and experimental groups will be part of a cluster randomized selection by dividing equally among the two groups.
To control testing information about the pretest and posttest, all tests will be administered to every participant on the same date and time to keep from being made known to participants who were absent on the first day of testing. Students who are absent during these testing times will still be given the test on the first day of returning to school.
The attitudes of students can always be a factor in test scores, because if the student is not motivated to learn new material there is a chance that they will perform poorly on the test. This will affect the data of test scores. To control subject attitude, the control group will have access to the computers for different activities instead of games, so that their attitudes will not change based on time spent on the computers. The controlled group will also use computers at the same time as the experimental group, to keep them from knowing that one group is doing something different from the other. They will also be able to use the computer games used for mathematic practice and remediation at the end of the experiment.
To control the possible threat of location, the teacher and researcher will arrange classrooms so experimental and control groups receive instruction within the same classroom settings. This will be done by creating a new seating arrangement and moving desk around so that all of the control group is sitting in groups together, and all of the experimental groups are sitting in groups together. By doing so, the teacher is also controlling the student attitudes, because then they will not know that the other group is doing something different from them.
This study can only be generalized to all third-grade classes at Austinville where it is being conducted. Since the sample size is too small, it cannot be generalized for third-grade classes within the school system. Also, since this study was only conducted in third-grade classes, there cannot be a generalization for computer games in other grades.
Akpan, J. P., & Beard, L. A. (2014). Assistive Technology and Mathematics Education. Universal Journal Of Educational Research, 2(3), 219-222.
Baek, Y. (2008). What hinders teachers in using computer and video games in the classroom? Exploring factors inhibiting the uptake of computer and video games. Cyber Psychology& Behavior, 11(6), 665-671.
Cavanagh, S. (2009). Results Found for Computer-Math Program. Education Week,
28(25), 4. Retrieved from http://www.ebscohost.com
Jiménez, O. (2015). Leveraging the Social Aspect of Educational Games. Theory Into
Practice, 54(2), 101-108. doi:10.1080/00405841.2015.1010845 Retrieved from http://www.ebscohost.com
Ke, F. (2008). Computer games application within alternative classroom goal structures: cognitive, metacognitive, and affective evaluation. Educational Technology Research and Development, 56(5/6), Retrieved from http://www.ebscohost.com
Kim, S., & Chang, M. (2010). Computer games for the math achievement of diverse students. Journal of Educational Technology and Society, 13(3), Retrieved from http://www.ebscohost.com
Lin, C. (2008). Preservice Teachers’ Beliefs About Using Technology in the Mathematics Class room. Journal Of Computers In Mathematics & Science Teaching, 27(3), 341-360.
Zyda, M. (2007). Creating a science of games. Communications of the ACM, 50(7), Retrieved from http://www.ebscohost.com
Student Consent Form
Dear Parent or Guardian:
I am a counseling student at the University of West Alabama. I am conducting a research project on the effectiveness of using technology to enhance test scores. I request permission for your child to participate.
The study will consist of two groups, one that will use computer games for extra practice and remediation while the other group` will use paper-pencil practice. Only I and your child’s teacher will have access to your child’s information. At the conclusion of the study, the responses will be reported as group results. Participation in this study is voluntary. Your decision whether or not to allow your child to participate will not affect the services normally provided to your child by Austinville Elementary School. Your child’s participation in this study will not lead to the loss of any benefits to which he or she is otherwise entitled. Even if you give your permission for your child to participate, your child is free to refuse to participate. If your child agrees to participate, he or she is free to end participation at any time. You and your child are not waiving any legal claims, rights, or remedies because of your child’s participation in this research study.
Any information that is obtained in connection with this study will remain confidential and will be disclosed only with your permission or as required by law. Should you have any questions or desire further information, please call me or email me at [email protected] Keep this letter after tearing off and completing the bottom portion and return the bottom portion to your child’s teacher.
Please indicate whether or not you wish to allow your child to participate in this project by checking one of the statements below, signing your name and returning this portion to your child’s teachers. Sign both copies and keep one for your records.
_____ I grant permission for my child to participate in Mrs. Emily Williams’ study on the effectiveness of using technology to increase test scores.
_____ I do not grant permission for my child to participate in Mrs. Emily Williams’ study on the effectiveness of using technology to increase test scores.
Signature of Parent/Guardian Printed Parent/Guardian Name
Printed Name of Child Date
Permission to Conduct Research
Dear Dr. Douglas,
I would like to conduct a study using the third grade classes of Austinville Elementary School. The study proposes to research the effects of using technology to increase tests scores to three third grade classrooms. The results of this study will improve the educational practice of teachers and directly impact the success of students. The study will take place from January 4, 2019 to April 4, 2019. It will be conducted by me, Mrs. Emily Williams, a current third grade teacher.
I feel that this research study is a very worthwhile endeavor for our students and school. Please review the enclosed information in order to make a decision concerning our schools’ ability to conduct this research. A consent form has been included.
AUTHORIZATION FOR A MINOR TO SERVE
AS A SUBJECT IN RESEARCH
I authorize the service of _____________________ as a subject in the research investigation entitled: Impact of Using Technology to Increase Tests Scores.
(name of minor)
The nature and general purpose of the research procedure and the known risks have been explained to me. I understand that _____________________ will be given a preservice explanation of the research and that he/she may decline to serve. Further, I understand that he/she may terminate his/her service in this research at any time he/she so desires.
(name of minor)
I understand the known risks are the possibility of tests scores not increasing.
I also understand that it is not possible to identify all potential risks in an experimental procedure and I believe that reasonable safeguards have been taken to minimize both the known and the potential but unknown risks.
I agree further to indemnify and hold harmless the University of West Alabama and its agents and employees from any and all liability, actions, or causes of actions that may accrue to the subject minor as a result of his/her activities for which this consent is granted.
(parent or guardian)
To be retained by researcher
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