Does Computer-aided Instruction Improve Children's Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills?: Evidence from Cambodia

Author Name ITO Hirotake (Keio University) / KASAI Keiko (Keio Research Institute at SFC) / NAKAMURO Makiko (Keio University)
Creation Date/NO. May 2019 19-E-040
Research Project Research on the Improvement in Resource Allocation and Productivity among the Healthcare and Education Service Industries
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This paper examines the causal effect of computer-aided instruction (CAI) on children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Closely working with the Cambodian government, we ran clustered-randomized controlled trials at five elementary schools near Phnom Penn for three months. Students were randomly assigned into 20 treatment classes which were allowed to use an app based on CAI instead of regular math classes during the intervention, or 20 control classes. Our empirical results drawn from these experiments suggest that average treatment effect on cognitive skills measured using several types of math achievement tests and IQ tests is positive and statistically significant. The effect is significantly large, especially as compared with prior literature examined in developing countries: the estimated coefficients on student achievements are 0.56-0.67 standard deviations and IQ scores 0.70 standard deviations even after controlling for demographic factors. Furthermore, it is found that that CAI-based app can increase the students' subjective expectation of being able to attend tertiary education in the future. However, there is no significant effect on non-cognitive skills, such as motivation.