Date of Conferral

1-1-2009

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Deanna Boddie

Abstract

Currently, a problem exists in K-12 education related to the use of technology for the assessment of student learning. Specifically, due to the lack of access to and infrequent use of computers for middle school students, the rise in the use of high stakes computer-based tests may negatively impact student test scores in poor, urban schools. The conceptual framework of this study was informed by Albert Bandura's theory of self-efficacy, the work of The National Center for Fair and Open Testing regarding ending the misuses and flaws of standardized testing, and James Popham's research on quality assessment. The central research question explored the influence of socioeconomic status, computer access/use, attitudes towards computers, and student achievement levels on computerized tests. This research study was a case study involving 2 charter schools in Michigan. The researcher assumed the role of a non-participant observer and was the primary source for data collection and analysis. The participants for this study were students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 at one suburban and one urban charter school. Multiple sources of evidence were collected, including observations, surveys, and documents. Data analysis was conducted at two levels: category construction was used to examine data for each single case, and a cross-case analysis was used to examine the data for patterns and themes, using the research questions as a guide. A key finding was that home computer access coupled with sole use had a positive influence on student achievement, a positive influence on self-perceptions of computer ability, and significantly influenced the amount of computer usage. Implications for positive social change in education were that practitioners would become aware of the negative effects of computerized testing and implement strategies to mitigate the negative effects.