Technology’s negative effect on test scores


Gary Garcia

Student working in class to get an assignment done using technology.

Gary Garcia, Reporter

Technology is designed to make students’ lives easier and be able to become smarter and faster learners. However, the question still remains whether technology really has helped students become smarter and increase test scores, or if it has affected students in a negative way.

One of the main reasons technology is so important to students is that it can extend their education. Students can now take online courses for college, high school, or summer school. This provides more opportunities and easier access to gaining and proceeding through the education process. However, the more technology shown to be used in the class or district, the lower students’ tests scores seem to be. 

The Reboot Foundation released a study in 2019 that shows a negative correlation between a nation’s performance on international assessments and 15 year olds’ self-reported use in technology. The result showed that the more students use technology in their class, the lower they ranked in educational achievement.

Photo Courtesy of: (2011)
Chart showing the usage of students’ phones at school between grades 3-12.

Students in different grade levels have dealt with technology in the classroom differently. Fourth grade students who were reported using technology in most of their classes scored lower on the reading portion of the test than people who were said to never use technology in the classroom. The students who used technology in most of their classes scored fourteen points lower on their tests and quizzes than the students who never used technology in the classroom, according to the Hechinger Report.

However, eighth graders seem to use technology to the best of their ability. Jill Barshay from the Hechinger Report explains, “Eighth graders who reported using computers to conduct research for projects had higher reading test scores than those who didn’t use computers for research.” Eighth graders who are maturing at this age and are preparing for high school use technology maturely as they understand how to utilize their resources. 

“The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) first detected a negative relationship between computer usage in schools and student achievement on its 2012 tests known as PISA, or Program for International Student Assessment, which are taken by high school students around the world every three years.” 2012 was a year that technology in school was not fully “normal” or seen every day in the classroom. However, three years later in 2015 the Reboot Foundation was worrisome as the results did not look any better than the 2012 results.

Technology is being used every day in school and students, let alone teachers, rely on it to complete assignments. The use of technology in the classroom should be monitored to keep students interactive with what they are learning for the sake of student’s future in education.