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Smart distractions

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A new report from the LSE Centre for Economic Performance looks at changes in test scores after schools banned pupils from using mobile phones.

The authors analysed data on GCSE performance before and after a ban on mobiles in school (130,482 observations) and found an overall increase of 5.67% of a standard deviation in across-school and across-year test scores.

When pupil characteristics, prior peer achievement, and changes in school leadership/policies were taken into account, the average pupil’s test results in a school that banned mobiles were 6.41% of a standard deviation higher than scores from pupils at schools that allowed mobiles.

A particularly striking finding was that the overall improvements in test results were led by the lowest-achieving pupils and banning mobiles had no significant impact on high-achieving pupils. This led the authors to suggest that restrictions on mobiles may be a low-cost way to reduce educational inequalities.

Source: Ill Communication: Technology, Distraction & Student Performance (2015), The London School of Economics and Political Science.

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