Washington Post

April 5, 2007

Educational Software, a $2 billion-a-year industry that has become the darling of school systems across the country, has no significant impact on student performance, according to a study by the U. S. Department of Education.

The long-awaited report amounts to a rebuke of educational technology, a business whose growth has been spurred by schools desperate for ways to meet the testing mandates of President Bush's No Child Left Behind law.

The technology - ranging from video-game-like programs to more rigorous drilling exercises used on computers - has been embraced by low-performing schools as an easy way to boost student test scores.

The study, released Wednesday night, is expected to further inflame the debate about education technology on Capitol Hill as lawmakers consider whether to renew No Child Left Behind.

Industry officials played down the study and attributed most of the problems to poor training and execution of the programs in classrooms.

Mark Schneiderman, director of education policy at the Software and Information Industry Association, said other research trials have proved the technology works, although he said those trials were not as large or rigorous as the federal government's.

"This may sound flip or like we're making excuses, but the fact is that technology is only one part of it, and the implementation of the technology is critical to success," said Schneiderman, whose group represent 150 companies that produce educational software.

The study evaluated 15 reading and math products used in 132 schools.  There were no statistically significant differences on standardized tests between students who used software and those who did not.


I rest my case!  Follow the money.  Someone needs to stop this nonsense in our public schools.  We are just throwing good money after bad.  It would be almost impossible to compute how much money Katy ISD has thrown down the drain following the computer mouse.  And NONE of it has made a bit of difference.  Well maybe it has in a negative way.  All that money and all those hours wasted by students learning skills that will be useless in three years or less, could have been spent in a lot of other more productive ways.  MM