Revealing myths: computers and school performance

Over the last few years, public educational policies have had an emphasis on the need to equip schools with computers and change teaching practices, to match the needs of information society. This paper analyzes the SAEB research data to check basic school students from the 4th to the 8th grades and 3rd year high school students' performance, as well as to study the relation between their performance and the use of computers. The results show us that, for all grades and for all social-economic classes, heavy use of computers is related to lower school performance. For 4th grade students from poor social backgrounds, even the moderate use of computers is associated to worse performance in Portuguese and mathematics. These results point out to the need to reflect on the role of computers in teaching, especially when it comes to poor students, for whom the use of computers is associated to a worse school performance.

Computers; Basic education; High school education; Performance; SAEB

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