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Computers and Student Learning: Bivariate and Multivariate Evidence on the Availability and Use of Computers at Home and at School

  • Thomas Fuchs


  • Ludger Woessmann

We estimate the relationship between students’ educational achievement and the availability and use of computers at home and at school in the international student-level PISA database. Bivariate analyses show a positive correlation between student achievement and the availability of computers both at home and at schools. However, once we control extensively for family background and school characteristics, the relationship gets negative for home computers and insignificant for school computers. Thus, the mere availability of computers at home seems to distract students from effective learning. But measures of computer use for education and communication at home show a positive conditional relationship with student achievement. The conditional relationship between student achievement and computer and internet use at school has an inverted U-shape, which may reflect either ability bias combined with negative effects of computerized instruction or a low optimal level of computerized instruction.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1321.

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Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1321
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  1. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J., 1999. "Multi-Task Learning and the Reorganization of Work. From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization," IZA Discussion Papers 39, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Ludger Woesmann, 2003. "Schooling Resources, Educational Institutions and Student Performance: the International Evidence," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(2), pages 117-170, 05.
  3. Borghans, Lex & ter Weel, Bas, 2003. "Are Computer Skills the New Basic Skills? The Returns to Computer, Writing and Math Skills in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 751, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2001. "Asymptotic Properties Of Weighted M-Estimators For Standard Stratified Samples," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(02), pages 451-470, April.
  8. Cecilia E. Rouse & Alan B. Krueger, 2004. "Putting Computerized Instruction to the Test: A Randomized Evaluation of a "Scientifically-based" Reading Program," NBER Working Papers 10315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Fuchs, Thomas & Woessmann, Ludger, 2004. "What Accounts for International Differences in Student Performance? A Re-Examination Using PISA Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1287, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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