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Assessments Are In For The Home Computer Project


Many readers of this blog know about our school’s project of providing home computers and DSL service to immigrant families, who then use it to study English.  You can find links to several articles about it on sidebar.

We just tabulated the results from the first quarter assessments we did, and the results are very positive.

The first year we did this students from fifteen families had almost double the improvement in their cloze scores (that tend to evaluate vocabulary and comprehension) than those who did not have home computers.  This new group of students from thirty families with home computers and the thirty in the control group had exactly the same difference –students from the thirty families with home computers had almost double the improvement in their cloze scores than those without home computers.

The real shocker was in their reading fluency scores — the number of words read in a minute (with errors subtracted).  Last year there was no difference between the two groups.  This time around the students with home computers had exactly triple the improvement in reading fluency than those without the home computers.

Of course, these are just the results from the first quarter assessment, so we have to see if it continues during the rest of the year.  But it does look positive.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. How did you assess reading fluency? Obviously the score will be different depending on whether the text they are given is at, above or below their reading level.

  2. Marco.

    Good question. All students read from the same two passages at the beginning and at the end of the quarter. They read each for a minute each, and their errors were subtracted and the two scores were averaged. All the students in both groups were Beginner English Language Learners, and the passages were at the first grade level.

    For the clozes, all the students read the same three clozes and the three were averaged.

    We use these kinds of reading fluency and cloze assessments in most of the English classes at our school — both ESL and non-ESL. Obviously, though, the reading levels of the assessments differ according to the English ability of the classes.


  3. Larry–What software are you providing? Are you giving homework to both groups? Do you collect assignments? I’m interested in learning more about your program from a teacher’s perspective. Lastly, do the students have printers too?

    Hey, thanks for the Carnival invitation. I was a slug-bug this time and didn’t get anything ready in time. I promise to sharpen things up and be ship-shape ready for the next one.

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