Effect of Computer-Assisted Instruction on Reading Achievement: A Meta-Analysis

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NICHCY’s Structured Abstract 12 describes the following:

Title | Effect of Computer-Assisted Instruction on Reading Achievement: A Meta-Analysis

Authors | Soe, K., Koki, S., & Chang, J.

Source | Available from Pacific Resources for Education and Learning Web site: http://www.prel.org/products/Products/effect-cai.htm

Year Published | 2000

Whether computer-assisted instruction (CAI) can improve reading achievement of students has been a crucial question addressed by many studies in the past. This meta-analysis reviewed 17 research studies based on students in grades K-12 and revealed that CAI does have a positive effect on reading achievement.

The ability to read affects students’ progress in all academic areas. Over the years, many interventions have been developed to help poor readers. In the 1980s, computers started to become commonplace in public school classrooms, and computer programs to help teach reading became a growing trend in reading education. Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) offers a number of benefits to students and teachers. CAI provides students with drill and practice of reading skills, assesses and keeps records of students’ progress, diagnoses problems, and provides information and reports to teachers.

Research Questions
This study evaluates the effectiveness of CAI on the reading achievement of K-12 students.

Research Design

  • Number of Studies Included | 17
  • Number of Subjects | N/A
  • Years Spanned | 1982-1999

Research Subjects
Of the sample population:

  • 24% were minority
  • 18% were economically disadvantaged
  • 24% had a low-socioeconomic status (SES)
  • 24% were from rural area

Age/Grade of Subjects
Kindergarten to 12th Grade

Specified Disability
This meta-analysis did not focus on children with disabilities.

Participants received Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) in reading.

Duration of Intervention
Of the studies included, 24% of the interventions lasted 1-4 months, 65% lasted from 5 months to 1 school year, and 12% lasted for more than 1 school year.

Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) was found to have a positive impact on reading achievement.

Combined Effects Size

  1. Though the effect sizes for each study were positive, they varied so much from one study to the next (e.g., 0.045 to 0.762) that the researchers decided not to reported an overall combined effect size. Instead, the heterogeneous results are displayed in a series of scatter plots.
  2. Z= 0.1316

This meta-analysis concludes that computer-assisted instruction (CAI) positively impacts reading achievement. However, researchers are not yet able to determine what aspects of CAI are most helpful to students, what the most effective methods are for implementing CAI, or if CAI is more effective for certain student populations than others. The many types of CAI and the lack of sufficient research on key areas of CAI’s impact on reading achievement make it impossible to systematically assess CAI at this time. The researchers suggest that CAI can serve as a powerful tool for reading teachers, but it is only suited to be one part of an effective reading curriculum. CAI should be used to supplement, not replace, traditional reading instruction.

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