An experimental study of the effects of learning computer programming on reading comprehension of a selected group of fourth grade students

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Zetzl, Martha Sue
Shipman, Dorothy A.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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The purpose of the study was to determine if learning computer programming on a microcomputer in BASIC language has a significant effect on the reading comprehension of fourth grade students.The study population consisted of eighty students in four fourth grade classrooms in a metropolitan district in central Indiana. The classes were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. Each of the four classes received thirty minute instruction sessions. The experimental group received programming instruction while the control group received no programming instruction, but were instructed in computer awareness and the use of math computer software.Findings the data from this study indicated:1) There were no significant differences in 1 reading comprehension between the group of students that learned to do computer programming and the group of students that did not learn programming without regard to sex or reading ability levels.2) Learning computer programming had a significant effect on the comprehension achievement of female students in the average and below average reading ability groups.3) Computer programming instruction did not result in a significant gain for students in the above average reading ability group.Conclusions based on the findings of this study the following conclusions were drawn:1) Learning how to do computer programming did not significantly affect the reading comprehension achievement of fourth grade students without regard to sex or reading ability level.2) Students with reading abilities in the average and below average range responded better to programming instruction by demonstrating higher mean comprehension gains.3) Female students demonstrated a better response to programming instruction than male students no matter what the classification of reading ability.4) Lower ability students made greater gains whether they did or did not learn programming, possibly indicating that hands-on experience with a computer may assist in improving reading comprehension.The results of this study indicated that the students responded favorably to learning computer programming. Only two students in the experimental group did not improve their comprehension scores. Nine students in the control group did not improve their scores. However, no significant evidence was found that suggested that learning computer programming would improve comprehension achievement.With the educational community rapidly entering the technological world, the influence of computers in the education of elementary students will continue to increase. This study has attempted to add to the body of knowledge that educational decision makers will need in order to make education and schools of the future use computers effectively as tools for enhancing reading growth and improvement, and overall learning.