Date of Award

Fall 12-18-2017

Document Type

Dissertation - University of Massachusetts Global access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Keith Larick

Second Advisor

Dr. Carol Anderson-Woo

Third Advisor

Dr. Timothy McCarty


Purpose: The purpose of this quantitative, experimental study was to determine if there was a significant difference in 2016 Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) English language arts (ELA) writing levels and ELA overall achievement levels between 7th- and 8th-grade students with and without access to Chromebooks for at least one 46-minute period of the instructional day. Question 1 compared all general education students. Question 2 compared economically disadvantaged students. Question 3 compared students who were not identified as economically disadvantaged.

Methodology: The school district studied represented Title I public middle schools across the state of California both in demographics and in SBA results. The sample population included 690 7th- and 1,034 8th-grade students for Question 1. A total of 582 7th- and 878 8th-grade students represented Question 2. A total of 108 7th- and 156 8th-grade students represented Question 3. The researcher used nonparametric Mann-Whitney U tests to test for significant differences in achievement levels between students with and without Chromebook access. Any p value under .05 was declared statistically significant.

Findings: Results showed that the following students who had access to Chromebooks had statistically significantly higher ELA writing and ELA overall achievement levels: 7th- and 8th-grade general education students, 7th- and 8th-grade economically disadvantaged students, and 8th-grade students not identified as economically disadvantaged. However, 7th-grade students who were not identified as economically disadvantaged did not have significantly different ELA achievement levels.

Conclusions: Results show that Chromebook access benefits all students; the digital divide can potentially increase the SES achievement gap; congruency of learning and assessment tools increase student achievement on assessments; and Chromebook access for at least 46 minutes of the instructional day can increase ELA writing and overall achievement levels, as measured by the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Recommendations: It is recommended that future studies research teacher and student use of computer-based devices in the classroom and the relationship to student achievement.