Narrowing the Digital Divide in Early Maths: How Different Modes of Assessment Influence Young Children’s Mathematical Test Scores

Sian McDonald, Olga Fotakopoulou

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Research Findings: Children are increasingly using touchscreen technologies at home, which has become a recurring feature within their classroom too. Research has investigated the potential effect of using computer-based tests to assess pupils’ performance rather than traditional paper tests. An agreement has still not been formed about the impact of the mode of assessment on pupils’ mathematical test scores. A mixed methods design was employed to explore the impact of the testing on young children’s mathematical test scores. Thirty-seven children 4-7-years old were recruited from a primary school in England with their parents. A mathematical test on paper and an iPad was administered to each participant which was accompanied by an interview. Data regarding the use of touchscreens at home were explored with an on-line parental questionnaire. The results showed that gender and test type impact mathematical test scores, with females performing the best on the iPad test. The findings also suggested that as tablet usage increased at home, iPad mathematical test scores decreased. The interviews revealed that children rely on different strategies when resolving mathematical problems. Practice or Policy: Digital testing may enable a better investigation of mathematical skills in the first years of schooling and of differences between males and females’ responses to solving mathematical questions, which then could be used to tailor the curriculum.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEarly Education and Development
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 28 Sept 2023

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