237- Does Computer-Assisted Learning Improve Learning Outcomes? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Public Schools in Rural Minority Areas in Qinghai, China

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The education of disadvantaged populations has been a long-standing challenge to the education system in both developed and developing countries. Although computer-assisted learning (CAL) has been considered one alternative to improve learning outcomes in a cost-effective way, the empirical evidence of its impacts on improving learning outcomes is mixed. This paper uses a cluster randomized field experiment in 57 schools (26 schools were part of the CAL program; 31 control schools were not) to explore the effects of the CAL program on student academic and non-cognitive outcomes for students in public schools in minority rural areas in China. Our results show that a remedial, game-based CAL program that focused on teaching Chinese (held out of regular school hours) improved the standardized Chinese scores of the students in the treatment schools by 0.14-0.19 standard deviations more than those in the control schools. Moreover, CAL also had significant spillover effects on student standardized math test scores. Still further, our results also show insignificant positive effects of CAL intervention on student non-academic outcomes of interest in studying and metacognition, and significant positive effect on student self-efficacy of Chinese studying. In general, low-performing students benefited more from the program. The CAL intervention also had mixed effects on the non-academic outcomes of students from different ethnic minority groups. 

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