The impact of the bring your own device program on academic achievement in mathematics in a sample of 7th graders: an explanatory sequential mixed methods inquiry
Tijerina, Patricia Aurora
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The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program were among the major topics of interest in Texas middle schools in the 2014-2015 school year. Many institutions have been implementing a BYOD policy, which allows students and teachers purchase their own electronic devices without offering detailed specifications. The primary purpose of the study was to examine the impact of the BYOD on standardized academic achievement in mathematics. The mixed methods study was conducted in two middle schools in South Texas. The State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) scores were analyzed to test the hypothesis that 7th graders who used the BYOD program (n = 297) would score higher on standardized mathematics achievement than did the students who had not used the BYOD program (n = 297). For the qualitative component of the study, a focus group was conducted to document the perspectives of a sample of teachers and educational leaders regarding the effectiveness of the BYOD program on mathematics academic achievement. Based on the quantitative results, the study’s hypothesis was not supported and it was concluded that the students who used the BYOD program did not score higher on the seventh grade standardized mathematics STAAR test than did the students who had not used a BYOD program. There were 13 educators who participated in the qualitative component of the study of which, eight did not feel that achievement in mathematics could be affected by the BYOD program, complementing the quantitative results. Analysis of the qualitative data resulted in five themes, namely, Access to BYOD, Distractions Due to BYOD, Cost of BYOD, Monitoring of BYOD, and BYOD as a Tutorial Tool. The study examined the impact of the BYOD program on seventh grade standardized mathematics STAAR scores in a South Texas middle school setting. After adjusting for the confounding variables, the results demonstrated that, at the 0.01 level of significance, the non-BYOD group outperformed the comparison group on the majority of the outcome measures. The educators in the focus group stated that the BYOD program, when properly used, helps students access the newest mathematics resources that may result in academic achievement. In non-BYOD schools, other factors that may influence the outcomes must be taken into consideration, which may include parent and community involvement, teacher assessments, teacher-made worksheets targeting specific objectives, daily in-school small group tutoring, and after school tutoring prior to the STAAR test. Additionally, providing the teachers with sufficient planning time to develop the subject areas may be instrumental in increasing mathematics scores. Whatever the case may be, it can be informative to examine the effectiveness of other potential interventions.