Implementing Reading and Mathematics Software


Means, B., Murphy, R., Shear, L., Gorges, T., Hu, P., & Sussex, W. (2006). Implementing Reading and Mathematics Software. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.


Prior technology implementation research has identified school and classroom practices associated with more extensive use of technology. These practices have been promoted on the basis of a logic model that assumes that greater technology use will enhance student learning. Findings from the recent national randomized field trial of the Effectiveness of Educational Technology Interventions (EETI) call this logic model into question, at least for the kinds of reading and mathematics software included in that study and for the learning outcomes captured by standardized achievement tests. Further research is needed to understand the highly variable effects of software implementation and what constitutes appropriate software use in ways that support learning. This study explored software implementation issues through case study of a subset of the schools participating in the EETI experiment. Interviews and observations focusing on school and classroom implementation practices were conducted with staff from schools where teachers using reading or mathematics software with their students had attained above-average achievement gains and from schools where software-using teachers had below-average gains in their first year of software implementation. The qualitative data point to the importance of school practices in the areas of principal support and teacher collaboration around software use and of teacher practices concerning classroom management and use of software-generated student performance data. The issues of instructional coherence and competition for instructional time are highlighted as challenges to software implementation.

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