Date of Award

Spring 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Robert Lucking

Committee Member

Steven Purcell

Committee Member

Jack Robinson

Committee Member

Jane Hager

Committee Member

Stephen Greiner


This meta-analysis analyzed grades 6 through 12 school students' academic achievement effect sizes from experimental, quasi-experimental, and correlational studies that examined the effects of microcomputer-based computer-assisted instruction (CAI) on the academic achievement of urban, suburban, and rural students across various subjects. Those studies compared secondary students who were exposed to CAI with those who were exposed to traditional instructional strategies.

A total of 3,476 students participated in 24 studies which resulted in 35 conclusions. The sample size ranged from 28 to 425; the mean sample size was 140 students.

The mean effect sizes of urban, suburban, and rural students uncovered differences in the effect of CAI on secondary students' academic achievement. CAI appears to have its strongest effects among urban students; its effects are weaker among suburban students and weakest among rural students. The mean effect size of the seven studies in urban areas was 0.362. In suburban areas, nine studies yielded a mean effect size of 0.227, and a mean effect size of 0.148 was calculated across eight studies in rural educational settings.

From the 35 conclusions, an overall mean effect size was calculated to be 0.233. The overall mean effect size of this study indicates that the average student exposed to CAI showed academic achievement greater than 58.7% of the students exposed to traditional instruction.

The 35 effect sizes were categorized into seven academic subject areas. The mean effect size of CAI on science students' academic achievement was the largest effect size in the meta-analysis. In descending order, the mean effect sizes by subject area in science, reading, special education, music, math, vocational education, and English are as follows: 0.717, 0.262, 0.259, 0.230, 0.179, 0.168, and $-$0.420, respectively.

The 35 effect sizes were compared over time by calculating the mean effect size of the studies conducted within each year from 1984 to 1993. The mean effect of CAI on student academic achievement generally declined over time.


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