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2011 Uruguay: Learning with the XOs: The impact of the Ceibal Plan



Author: Alina Machado, Mery Ferrando, Ivone Perazzo, Adriana Vernengo , Carmen Haretche

Executive summary

Background:

Since early 2007 Uruguay has been carrying out the Education Connectivity of Basic Computing for On-Line Learning Project (Ceibal Plan), which represents a good instance of such state efforts. Two have been the main objectives of this project, headed by the Office of the President and executed by the Preschool and Primary Education Council (ceip) and the Uruguay Technology Laboratory (latu). First, to ensure a universal and free access to a computer and an Internet connection for all public primary school students and teachers, to close the «digital gap» in the use and knowledge of information and communication technologies. Second, to give children the possibility of developing their abilities, to widen their knowledge and to encourage learning.

This document assess the impact of the Ceibal Plan in school performance of students who attend public institutions in Uruguay. The effects of the Plan on student motivation and on parent and teacher perception about how the availability of computers affects children’s attitudes to learning and to school life in general are also analyzed. Also, this study analyzes teacher commitment to the Plan.

Purpose/Objective:

Analyze the effects of classroom educational practices (particularly those related to the use of a computer) and the use of computers at home, connecting these findings with school learning. Also, the study presents a deeper knowledge of the role of technology in the creation of externalities, both within the family and the classroom. Accordingly, the study enables the analysis of two of the main objectives of the Ceibal Plan: improvement of the quality of education through the integration of technology in the classroom, school and family, and development of a culture of collaboration on four lines: student-student, student-teacher, teacher-teacher and student-family-school.

Methodology:

The study analyzes the scores obtained by a panel of students in two moments in time, 2006 and 2009, to find out the students’ characteristics before the intervention and thus control the unobservable factors that could influence these results. The results obtained from the Second Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study (serce in Spanish) in 2006 represents the baseline or first panel round, at a time when the Ceibal Plan had not been implemented. A total of 7,209 3rd grade and 6,377 6th-grade students participated in serce. The study was implemented in all departments of the country and included language, mathematics and science tests, and a set of questionnaires for the students, their parents or guardians, teachers and school authorities. The baseline of this study is the data obtained from the serce 2006 evaluation for 3rd grade students. With the support of the Division of Research, Evaluation and Statistics of anep, in 2009 the researches were able to collect updated data regarding the school and the grade of the students that had participated in serce 2006. Additionally, this Division provided the evaluation for these students who, in 2009 were mostly in 6th grade. anep evaluation specialists suggested the last national evaluation tests for 6th grade (applied in 2005) be used for this study, given that they tested primary school cumulative knowledge in mathematics and language. In this case, a set of questionnaires was also given to the students, their parents or guardians, teachers and school authorities.

Findings and Conclusions:

This research shows that in the geographic areas studied, the Ceibal Plan had a positive impact on student performance in mathematics and no impact on reading. These are the results obtained after applying different specifications to the analysis model, when all students in the panel are assessed and when the analysis is limited to sixth grade students. In mathematics, the incremental effect estimated amounts to approximately one fifth standard deviations.



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