The Organisation for International Cooperation and Development’s members are the world’s most advanced economies. It conducts international tests every three years known as PISA, or the Programme for International Student Assessment. Typically, U.S. students rank in the bottom half of these tests of reading, science, and math skills.

The latest PISA results also found something else that would probably surprise most people. Jared Woodard writes about it in the latest edition of the journal American Affairs:

The largest international education survey, the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), most re­cently tested over 540,000 students in seventy-two countries with exams on reading, science, and mathematics. The latest results showed that classroom usage of all of the most advanced equipment was associated with worse student performance on every type of exam.

Students using tablet computers at school saw on average a 10 percent lower math test score versus peers who didn’t. E-book read­er use meant an 18 percent lower score in reading. Desktops, lap­tops, internet access, and Wi-Fi all were linked to lower scores. Even the widely touted interactive whiteboard was associated with worse results in reading, science, and math. The only technology linked to a meaningful improvement in test scores was that old standby, a projector.

Here’s a graph showing what the OECD found of the relationship between various types of electronic devices and student achievement.

This is why Redeemer Classical is a low-tech school, by design. Our teachers use their phones or tablets when it serves their teaching goals, such as to easily play a pre-selected piece of classical or folk music. But most of the time, screen distractions do not serve our students, and the costs of its added distraction to developing minds usually severely outweigh the potential benefits.

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