During the past 30 years, thousands of articles have been written about technology’s effects on pupil achievement. In order to quantify technology’s effects on maths achievement, Jamaal Young at the University of Texas conducted a meta-analysis of all of the meta-analyses on the topic during the last three decades. His second-order meta-analysis was comprised of 19 meta-analyses representing 663 primary studies, more than 141,000 pupils and 1,263 effect sizes. Each meta-analysis that was included had to address the use of technology as a supplement to instruction, use pupil maths achievement as an outcome measure, report an effect size or enough data to calculate one, have been published after 1985 and be accessible to the public.
The author found that:
- All technology enhancements positively affected pupil achievement, regardless of the technology’s purpose.
- However, technology that helped pupils perform computational functions had the greatest effects on pupil achievement, while combinations of enhancements demonstrated the least effects on pupil achievement.
- Study quality and the type of technology used in the classroom were the main influencers on effect sizes. The highest-quality studies had the lowest effect sizes, which he attributes to their more rigorous analysis procedures. The high-quality reviews gave an overall effect size for the use of technology of +0.16 (compared with +0.38 for low- and +0.46 for medium-quality reviews).
As limited by the availability of effect size, this secondary meta-analysis did not assess meta-cognitive, motivational, and affective outcomes. The author suggested that the accumulation and aggregation of effect sizes must improve and evolve to support policy and praxis, keeping technology integration relevant and valuable in mathematics classrooms.
Source: Young, J. (2017). Technology-enhanced mathematics instruction: A second-order meta-analysis of 30 years of research. Educational Research Review, 22, 19–33.