Technology and Education Change: Focus on Student Learning

Jul. 01, 2010

Source: Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(3), 285–307. (2010)
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study examined technology implementation practices associated with student learning gains.

Research Questions

This study focused on two central questions:
What classroom-level practices are associated with higher achievement gains in classrooms using reading or math software?
What school-level practices are associated with higher achievement gains in classrooms using reading or math software?


Interviews and observations were conducted with staff at schools where teachers using reading or mathematics software with their students attained above-average achievement gains and at schools where software-using teachers had below-average gains.

From these two school subsamples, 14 schools were selected for follow-up—7 in the above-average group and 7 in the below-average group. The 14 selected schools were using seven different software products (four reading products and three mathematics products) and included an above-average- and a below-average- gain school for each product.


The findings highlight the importance of school practices in the areas of principal support and teacher collaboration around software use and of teacher practices concerning classroom management and use of software-generated student performance data.

The issues of instructional coherence and competition for instructional time are highlighted as challenges to software implementation.


One implication of this study for classroom practice and software implementation efforts is that teachers should be urged to capitalize on the assessment data that instructional software makes available.
Most instructional software will adapt the learner’s experience to the results of embedded assessments automatically.
But teachers can use the software assessment reports also to identify specific areas where they can do more to support students during their regular classroom instruction, as was described by a number of case study teachers.

Furthermore, software reports can also bring to light individual students’ motivational issues or learning disabilities that might have gone unnoticed during whole-class instruction.

A second implication is that training and support around instructional software should pay more attention to the details of classroom management. Teachers work with classes of different sizes, in different physical settings, and with different kinds of students.

Updated: Jun. 29, 2010