Alan Cheung and Robert Slavin
The findings of a new review indicate that educational technology applications produce a positive but modest effect on the reading skills of struggling readers in comparison to “business as usual” methods.
The review, co-written by the Institute for Effective Education’s Robert Slavin, examines the effectiveness of educational technology for improving the reading achievement of struggling readers in primary schools. Four major categories of education technology applications are reviewed: small-group integrated applications, comprehensive models, supplemental computer-assisted instruction (CAI) programmes, and the Fast ForWord programme.
Small-group integrated applications such as Lindamood Phoneme Sequence Program and Read, Write, and Type produced the largest effect sizes, but these were mostly small studies, which tend to overstate programme impacts. Supplementary models, such as Lexia, had a larger number of studies and a more modest effect size. Comprehensive models and the Fast ForWord programme did not produce meaningful positive effect sizes. However, the results for these two categories of programmes should be interpreted with extreme caution because of the small number of studies involved. The review also found some evidence that technology applications might be more effective with younger primary school children, suggesting that early intervention is important for struggling readers.
The full report, and a summarised version, is available on the Best Evidence Encyclopaedia website, www.bestevidence.org.uk