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2003 Evaluation Report -Year 3, High School Laptop Computer Program, Liverpool Central School District, NY, 2002-2003

Date: 2003
Author: Kenneth R. Stevenson
Keywords: high school, attendance, achievement, leadership


This report provides an analysis of Year 3 of the Laptop Program at Liverpool High School in the Liverpool Central School District. Year 3 was a critical year in the Program in the sense that the initial class of tenth graders who began using laptops in 2000/2001 completed their third and final year of participation as twelfth graders. The Year 3 evaluation data provided the first opportunity to view the impact of the Laptop Program on a cohort of students who had been laptop users throughout their three year high school experience.

Key Findings:

* Typically in the tenth grade, students, parents, and teachers find the laptops to be a good tool in the learning/teaching arsenal. Use is relatively high at this grade, and a majority of those involved at this level find the project beneficial and worth continuing.

* However, as students continue on to the eleventh and twelfth grades, laptop use declines, and declines noticeably.

* With the decline in use comes increasing doubt about the value of the computer to the learning process-- and a growing unrest related to the value of the computer to the learning process--and a growing unrest related to the value of the laptops versus the costs parents must bear so that their children may participate in the Program.

* Because of the concerns that the central administration was trying to run their school, some school-based employees have begun to practice various forms of passive-aggressive behavior toward the Program. That is, being less than fully supportive of it from an implementation perspective. As one student related in an interview, "One of my teachers told me not to bring my laptop to class. We weren't going to use them and they'd just be in the way."

* The primary recommendation that the evaluator makes after three years of evaluating the Laptop Program is this: Adults involved in any way with the Laptop Program (whether teachers, parents, or administrators at both levels), must reaffirm that the purpose of the school, and the purpose of such projects as the Laptop Program, has to be about the students -- not about the politics of adults. Everyone associated with the Laptop Program should reassess his/her position on the Program in terms of what is in the best interests of children.

* Then, the various factions need to come together with honest, open dialogue about the Program. From that discussion should come a consensus of where the district should go from here regarding continuing the Laptop Program - and that decision must be driven by what is in the best interests of students.

Source Article: http://www.liverpool.k12.ny.us/Laptops/3rdyearevl.pdf