Date of Award

5-2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Lisa Yamagata-Lynch

Committee Members

Jennifer Morrow, Patrick Biddix, Sharon Smaldino

Abstract

The increasing number of English as a Second language students in US schools has provided new challenges in today’s classrooms. In addition to learning the language, culture, and curriculum of US schools, these students are also, in many cases, encountering technology for the first time. This lack of exposure creates a perfect storm as school systems adopt online assessments which in part, evaluate students for grade promotion. While technology exposure in schools is on the rise, so is the number of schools adopting a one-to-one program, where students are provided a laptop or other device for use, in many cases, at school and at home. The school district at the center of this study began its one-to-one program in 2013 using a gradual distribution method where interested schools applied to the one-to-one cohort. Annually, a handful of schools, elementary, middle, and high, would be selected from the yearly applications; thereby providing devices to students in the selected schools, while those schools not selected would continue to share, in many cases, a school computer lab or other technology resources. With research lacking, in particular on the ESL population, the goal of this study was to determine if students who had the opportunity to access technology at a one-to-one school had an advantage over those who did not have this same access when it came to their online writing assessment scores. This study analyzed pre-assessment survey data regarding technology access and use along with assessment scores from 380 ESL students who participated in yearly writing assessments during the 2014-2015 school year. The study employed Chi-square and Logistic regression analyses. Although, the results showed no significant relationship between successful online writing assessment scores and one-to-one membership, computer access outside of school, and computer use in school; results did show significant relationships between successful online writing assessment scores and Internet access at home, computer use outside of school, and grade level, respectively. Although this study provided some mixed results, providing students with experiences with technology will benefit students in their future educational and employment opportunities.

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