Does recreational computer use affect high school achievement?

Bowers, Alex J.; Berland, Matthew

Historically, the relationship between student academic achievement and use of computers for fun and video gaming has been described from a multitude of perspectives, from positive, to negative, to neutral. However, recent research has indicated that computer use and video gaming may be positively associated with achievement, yet these studies have focused on small intact and qualitative samples. The purpose of the present study is to examine the association between academic achievement in high school and student use of computers for fun and video gaming using the large nationally representative ELS:2002 sample of students in grade 10 in 2002 and an independent effects two-level hierarchical linear model. Our results indicate that both student use of computers for fun and moderate levels of video gaming were positive and significant on cross-sectional reading and mathematics achievement assessments in high school, controlling for multiple covariates of achievement, but were not related to growth in mathematics from grade 10 to grade 12.


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Educational Technology Research and Development

More About This Work

Academic Units
Education Leadership
Published Here
August 15, 2013


Keywords: Secondary education, high school, computer attitudes, video games, computer based communication, computer access, achievement, reading, mathematics, television, internet, extracurricular activities, homework. This manuscript is a preprint of an article published in 2013 in the journal Educational Technology Research and Development. Recommended citation format: Bowers, A.J., Berland, M. (2013) Does Recreational Computer Use Affect High School Achievement? Educational Technology Research and Development, 61(1), 51-69. doi:10.1007/s11423-012-9274-1