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Integrating Computer Assisted Learning into a Regular Curriculum: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Rural Schools in Shaanxi

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Journal of Development Effectiveness

April 2014

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Recent attention has been placed on whether computer assisted learning (CAL) can effectively improve learning outcomes. However, the empirical evidence of its impact is mixed. Previous studies suggest that the lack of an impact in developed countries may be attributable to substitution of effort/time away from productive, in-school activities. However, there is little empirical evidence on how effective an in-school programme may be in developing countries. To explore the impact of an in-school CAL programme, we conducted a clustered randomised experiment involving over 4000 third and fifth grade students in 72 rural schools in China. Our results indicate that the in-school CAL programme has significantly improved the overall math scores by 0.16 standard deviations. Both the third graders and the fifth graders benefited from the programme.

Keywords: computer assisted learning; out-of-school programme; in-school programme; substitution effect; test scores

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