Does computer-assisted learning improve learning outcomes? Evidence from a randomized experiment in public schools in rural minority areas in Qinghai, China

Author(s): Rozelle, Scott; Qu, Qinghe; Hu, Xiao; Lai, Fang; Shi, Yaojiang; Zhang, Linxiu; Boswell, Matthew

Date: 2013

Pages: 28 p.


The education of disadvantaged populations has been a long-standing challenge to the education system in both developed and developing countries. 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. The results show that a remedial, game-based CAL program that focused on teaching Standard Chinese (Mandarin) held out of regular school hours improved the standardized Mandarin scores of the students in the treatment schools by 0.14-0.20 standard deviations more than those in the control schools. Moreover, CAL also had significant spillover effects on student standardized math test scores. Still further, the 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 Mandarin studying. In general, low-performing students benefited more from the program.

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