Book v. Computer

The results are in (at least tentatively).

From the Freakonomics folks at the NY Times:

More evidence that technology doesn’t always equal higher test scores: a new working paper by Jacob L. Vigdor and Helen F. Ladd examines the effects of home computer and internet access on test scores.  Consistent with the research of Ofer Malamud and Christian Pop-Eleches, Vigdor and Ladd found that “the introduction of home computer technology is associated with modest but statistically significant and persistent negative impacts on student math and reading test scores.”

Meanwhile from a study reported on by The Chronicle of Higher Education:

What’s surprising … is just how strong the correlation is between a child’s academic achievement and the number of books his or her parents own. It’s even more important than whether the parents went to college or hold white-collar jobs. Books matter. A lot.  The study was conducted over 20 years, in 27 countries, and surveyed more than 70,000 people. Researchers found that children who grew up in a home with more than 500 books spent 3 years longer in school than children whose parents had only a few books. Also, a child whose parents have lots of books is nearly 20-percent more likely to finish college. For comparison purposes, the children of educated parents (defined as people with at least 15 years of schooling) were 16-percent more likely than the children of less-educated parents to get their college degrees. Formal education matters, but not as much as books.

This may of course assume that one doesn’t necessarily believe that quantity trumps quality.  For more on both studies visit Rough Type.

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