Effects of Extensive Engagement with Computer-Based Reading and Language Arts Instructional Software on Reading Achievement for Sixth-Graders
Abstract: This study presents evidence regarding the effects of extensive engagement with computer-based instructional software on the reading achievement of 86 sixth-graders, within a backdrop of two previous similar investigations at the same rural middle school between AY 2003-2007. A treatment group received computer-based, reading instruction for 24 weeks x 90 minutes weekly in addition to four, 90 minute blocks of conventional, in-class instruction. Control peers received conventional, in-class instruction in five, 90 minute blocks per week. Achievement scores on year-end, standardized reading tests yielded substantial gains for treatment subjects compared to controls, with an effect size of .92. The conclusion is that extensive software engagement combined with in-class instruction is an effective instructional context for enhancing reading and language arts achievement in the social-cultural contexts of this school. Teacher participants were followed up subsequently with qualitative interviews to assess their perceptions and experiences.